How To Get Rid Of Asian Longhorn Beetles?

Asian longhorn beetles are potent enough to cause a catastrophic impact on our hardwood industry. While there aren’t many ways to get rid of them, we will list some things that you can do in this article.

Asian Longhorn beetles are known as dangerous species of beetle that feed on the living tissue of hardwood trees.

They are known for their penchant for damaging maples, mulberries, horse chestnuts, and similar trees.

These insects came to America a few years ago and have been spreading in many states.

There aren’t many ways to get rid of them currently apart from tree removal, so as of now, the best option is to simply remove the tree and those surrounding it to stop their spread.

How To Get Rid Of Asian Longhorn Beetles

What are Asian Longhorn Beetles?

The Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) falls under the order Coleoptera and belongs to the family Cerambycidae.

As the name suggests, Asian longhorn beetles are native to Asian countries, particularly China and Korea. But in recent years, they have traveled to the United States and have now become a serious pest here.

Adult beetles have glossy black bodies which can measure from 0.7 to 1.6 inches in length. The bodies have a yellow of white spot on their wing covers.

They also have two long antennae that have 11 segments. The antennae of the males are almost twice their body length, and in females, they are 1.5 times the length.

The long antennae are the reason why these bugs are called long horns.

The lifecycle of the Asian Longhorn varies from two to three years. The adults show maximum activity during summer months, whereas the larvae spend their entire time inside their host trees.

Why are Asian Longhorn Beetles So Dangerous?

These beetles are a blight upon hardwood trees. They can completely destroy hardwood trees by eating them from the outside to their very core.

The female beetle enters the tree by chewing the bark and then lays her eggs inside. The eggs hatch into larvae that dig deep tunnels inside the bark.

The larvae feed on the tissues of the trees, sucking the plant sap and thus interfering with the food transport system of the tree.

By sucking out the plant sap from the middle, they make the upper parts of the tree nutrient-starved, thus causing it to wither away and the leaves to yellow.

Additionally, many studies have shown that these species of beetles can fly through several blocks in the city to find a new host tree, which can spread the infestation very quickly.

Fortunately, Asian longhorn horned beetles prefer laying eggs on the same tree on which they grew up.

How To Get Rid Of Asian Longhorn Beetles

Economic Impact

Maples are the preferred host plants of Asian Long-horned beetles. When the insect destroys maple trees, it impacts syrup production and the maple syrup industry.

Maple syrup is a $1.6bn industry, and these bugs can spread quickly and destroy entire forests of maple trees, causing losses worth billions of dollars.

Maple trees are not only good for obtaining tasty maple syrup but are also used in the manufacture of hardwood furniture and floors.

The ALB larvae make these trees dangerously hollow by building galleries inside the wood. This makes the wood incapable of milling, creating a huge loss for the entire hardwood industry.

Another important impact of these insects is that their larval galleries disrupt the structure and supporting tissues of the sugar maples.

This causes the tree’s branches to fall off when it is windy, disrupting power lines and roads and falling on unsuspecting pedestrians.

What Are The Signs of Infestation?

The telltale sign of infested trees is possession of wilted leaves and canopy dieback.

Another common sign is round exit holes the size of a penny, which the beetle larvae create to emerge as adults. This happens around July.

These exit holes are quite deep. If you try inserting a pencil in the exit hole, you will find that it will go in 1-inch deep.

Additionally, you can find round, ½ inch depressions in the outer bark, which are egg-laying sites for these bugs.

You might also notice a clear or yellowing fluid coming out of the tree, which actually plants cell sap oozing out of the exit holes.

Another tell-tale sign of their infestation is the mess they create at the bottom of the tree, which consists of sawdust and frass.

What Are The Actions Being Taken To Curb Its Spread?

The ALB first came to America in untreated wooden boxes, and this is the primary way in which they are traveling between states right now.

To curb this problem, the government has set International standards that make treating wooden materials with chemicals necessary.

The wood for packing materials is first kiln-dried and then chemically treated to keep away any microbes.

The government has also declared certain regions as quarantines to prevent the spread of these beetles from one to another tree.

One of the major areas of the infestation right now is New York City.

The NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets have worked together to investigate susceptible trees.

NYS department operates functions such as removal of nearby trees and chemical treatments on trees to eliminate the beetle pest in the cities of New York City and Long Island.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you treat longhorn beetles?

Chemical treatments through drilled injections seem to be working efficiently to eradicate longhorn beetles from infested areas.
Parasitoids are also being tested out though with limited success. Since the ALB is new to America, it does not have any natural enemies here.
As of now, the best way is to simply remove the tree to stop the spread.

How long does a longhorn beetle live?

The longhorn beetles can complete their life cycle within two to three years. They spend most of their time as larvae, boring through wood.
They show maximal activity in April and May but can be found eating tree leaves, bark wood and so on until October.

Can long-horned beetles fly?

Yes, long-horned beetles can fly across a few blocks of cities or around 400 yards. Studies have shown that some of them can fly as far as 8 miles!
But this is only true of the strongest bugs in their species. It is quite rare as longhorn beetles like to remain attached to the same tree on which they hatched.

How do I get rid of longhorn beetles in my house?

These beetles typically do not invade houses. They might come in through firewood or as part of a wooden crate.
ALBs are not harmful to the drywood furniture inside your house, so there is nothing much to worry about. These creatures will likely look for an exit from your home, so just shushing them away should be enough.

Wrap Up

Asian longhorns can cause both economic and ecological impacts. Thus many government organizations are working to control them right now.

We shared some ways to detect their presence in this article. As of now, the best thing you can do is to be vigilant and if you find any of these signs on a tree near you, inform the proper authorities immediately.

Thank you for reading!

Reader Emails

Longhorn beetles can be a big menace to beneficial trees. Many of our readers sent us pics of beetles they spotted near their homes to verify with us whether what they had spotted was an Asian longhorn.

Please go some of these letters and photographs below.

Letter 1 – Longhorned Borer: genus Monochamus

 

Big Ugly
Bugman, I’ve seen alot of bugs but not one like this. We found it last July in New Era Michigan. We were on vacation renting a cottage on the shore of Lake Michigan. We kept it for a couple of days in a bug container so it’s a hardy specimen. We gave him the name big ugly. His body was around 3-4 inches long.
Happy Holidays, Chris Mayo

Hi Chris,
This is a Longhorned Borer Beetle in the genus Monochamus. They are also known as Pine Sawyers and the entire family, Cerambycidae, are known as Longicorn Beetles because of the lengthy antennae on the males of some species.

Letter 2 – Unknown Longhorned Borer from California

 

Do you know what kind of bug this is?
Location:  Southern California
August 18, 2010 1:14 am
found this while cleaning up a pile of redwood logs. It ran pretty fast and survived a cat attack !
Thanks for your expertise : )
jenny

Unknown Longhorned Borer

Hi Jenny,
In a general sense, this is a Longhorned Borer Beetle in the family Cerambycidae, and we believe it is in the subfamily Cerambycinae which is well represented on BugGuide.  The species seems very familiar to us, but we have been unable to locate an identification.  Hopefully we can enlist the assistance of our readership.

Letter 3 – Longhorned Borer: Semanotus amethystinum we believe

 

Subject: shiny blue beetle
Location: portland oregon
June 26, 2012 5:15 pm
I am a preschool teacher in Portland Oregon. I found some of the kids on the playground playing with this beetle a few weeks ago. we kept it for a few days in a small aquarium with some of the plants we had found it around. since we let it go we have found several more of these around the playground some of them dead or injured. we would like to know what kind of beetle they are and what they eat so if we find ones that are injured the children can try to keep and take care of them.
Signature: sara s.

Longhorned Borer Beetle

Hi Sara,
This is one of the Longhorned Borer Beetles in the family Cerambycidae, however, we were not familiar with this beauty.  We quickly found what we believe is a correct identification as
Semanotus amythstinum on BugGuide.  We want to get a second opinion from Eric Eaton.  If we are correct, the host tree is Incense Cedar.   If we are correct, there are not many photos online and very little information on the species.  The host plant would provide the larval food source and we are not certain what the adults eat.

Eric Eaton confirms identification.
Yes it is!  One of my favorite beetles from there 🙂
When it comes to wood-boring beetles, timing is everything.  If you are not in the right place at the right time, you would never know such animals even existed.  They tend to be locally-common, too, because as larvae they develop only in wood of a certain age and condition.  So yes, they are uncommon unless you know where and when to look.
Eric

I can see why its one of your favorites. It was the most adorable and sociable bugs I have ever met. When we would take her out of the enclosure she would walk up and down our arms then fly around the kitchen then land back on one of us. She would sometimes crawl right to the edge of my husbands hand and seem to look him right in the face almost like she was communicating.
I have a strange question. Does it spin silk. I ask because it was hanging from its ovipositor and a strange sticky substance was on the side of the aquarium. I made certain there were no other bugs in the enclosure.

To the best of our knowledge, they do not spin silk.

Letter 4 – Longhorned Borer Emerges from Carved Mexican Snake!!!

 

Subject: Wood Boring Beetle
Location: Yucatan, Mexico
July 7, 2012 8:20 pm
Last July in 2011 while traveling through the Yucatan in Mexico we stopped at the pyramids of Chichen Itza and purchased a large hand carved wooden snake.
Fast forward about 6 months and started hearing chomping and clicking sounds coming from inside the snake, a few days later there were several talcum like saw dust powder mounds,but no actual holes, i promptly wrapped the snake in a dozen layers of saran wrap. for the past few weeks i’ve noticed more attempts of the insect trying to bore it’s way out but could not break through the saran wrap.
then upon my weekly inspection i finally saw it today burrowing out of the fang of the snake breaking through the plastic and crawling out, sadly we had to put it down due to not wanting invasive insects taking over! the snake has been re wrapped just incase theres more insects (there are holes dug out the entire length of the snake which is approx. 2ft x 6in.x6in.)…. i really love this carving and would hate to part with it, if theres any information you can provide about what this beetle is and if there there could be more than just one on a feeding frenzy! thanks!
Signature: -stephanie

Longhorned Borer Beetle emerges from carved Mexican snake

Hi Stephanie,
This beetle is in the genus
Eburia and there are quite a few species that are native to the United States.  We cannot be certain of the exact species as the members of the family look very similar.  The Ivory Marked Beetle is probably the most distinctive. We occasionally get reports of beetles emerging from finished wood products or milled lumber many years after they were built, but they are usually members in the Metallic Borer Beetle family Buprestidae.  Your Longhorned Borer is in the family Cerambycidae.  You were probably wise to make sure it did not escape.

Letter 5 – Longhorned Borer from Brazil: Unxia species

 

Subject: Beautiful bug!
Location: Marau, Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil
October 3, 2012 10:15 pm
Hi, I live in the south of Brazil and as you can imagine, it’s a country full of magnificent species that one may not see in a whole life time!
I found this bug (well, my cat found it) and I wanted to know its name! I’m very curious!
Signature: Mariana

Longhorned Borer Beetle: Unxia species

Hi Mariana,
It didn’t take us long to identify your Longhorned Borer Beetle in the family Cerambycidae as
Compsocerus violaceus thanks to a photo posted on the FlickR Museum of Life webpage.  We verified that ID on TrekNature as well as on the Worldwide Cerambycidae Photo Gallery.

Correction:  December 14, 2016
Thanks to a correction from Cerambycid expert Doug Yanega, we now know that this is a member of the genus
Unxia, which is pictured on Cerabycidae Catalog Search.

Letter 6 – Longhorned Borer from Oregon might be Neoclytus conjunctus

 

Longhorned Borer Beetle
Longhorned Borer Beetle

Subject: Borers in Oregon
Location: Josephine Co., Oregon
October 19, 2014 5:39 pm
We were splitting Madrone firewood today (10/19/14), and it was full of borers of some kind. There were two varieties. The black & green variety was the most common (probably 90%), but there were also some of the red and black. We’re interested in learning more about them, particularly whether they’re a threat to our woods.
Signature: Jim

Dear Jim,
We believe your Longhorned Borer might be
Neoclytus conjunctus, which is a native species found along the western portion of North America according to BugGuide.  Alas, BugGuide does not offer any specific information on the species.  We suspect it is not a cause for concern as it is a native species.  Your red and black beetle belongs to a different family and we will research its identity later.

Letter 1 – Longhorned Borer: genus Monochamus

 

Big Ugly
Bugman, I’ve seen alot of bugs but not one like this. We found it last July in New Era Michigan. We were on vacation renting a cottage on the shore of Lake Michigan. We kept it for a couple of days in a bug container so it’s a hardy specimen. We gave him the name big ugly. His body was around 3-4 inches long.
Happy Holidays, Chris Mayo

Hi Chris,
This is a Longhorned Borer Beetle in the genus Monochamus. They are also known as Pine Sawyers and the entire family, Cerambycidae, are known as Longicorn Beetles because of the lengthy antennae on the males of some species.

Letter 2 – Unknown Longhorned Borer from California

 

Do you know what kind of bug this is?
Location:  Southern California
August 18, 2010 1:14 am
found this while cleaning up a pile of redwood logs. It ran pretty fast and survived a cat attack !
Thanks for your expertise : )
jenny

Unknown Longhorned Borer

Hi Jenny,
In a general sense, this is a Longhorned Borer Beetle in the family Cerambycidae, and we believe it is in the subfamily Cerambycinae which is well represented on BugGuide.  The species seems very familiar to us, but we have been unable to locate an identification.  Hopefully we can enlist the assistance of our readership.

Letter 3 – Longhorned Borer: Semanotus amethystinum we believe

 

Subject: shiny blue beetle
Location: portland oregon
June 26, 2012 5:15 pm
I am a preschool teacher in Portland Oregon. I found some of the kids on the playground playing with this beetle a few weeks ago. we kept it for a few days in a small aquarium with some of the plants we had found it around. since we let it go we have found several more of these around the playground some of them dead or injured. we would like to know what kind of beetle they are and what they eat so if we find ones that are injured the children can try to keep and take care of them.
Signature: sara s.

Longhorned Borer Beetle

Hi Sara,
This is one of the Longhorned Borer Beetles in the family Cerambycidae, however, we were not familiar with this beauty.  We quickly found what we believe is a correct identification as
Semanotus amythstinum on BugGuide.  We want to get a second opinion from Eric Eaton.  If we are correct, the host tree is Incense Cedar.   If we are correct, there are not many photos online and very little information on the species.  The host plant would provide the larval food source and we are not certain what the adults eat.

Eric Eaton confirms identification.
Yes it is!  One of my favorite beetles from there 🙂
When it comes to wood-boring beetles, timing is everything.  If you are not in the right place at the right time, you would never know such animals even existed.  They tend to be locally-common, too, because as larvae they develop only in wood of a certain age and condition.  So yes, they are uncommon unless you know where and when to look.
Eric

I can see why its one of your favorites. It was the most adorable and sociable bugs I have ever met. When we would take her out of the enclosure she would walk up and down our arms then fly around the kitchen then land back on one of us. She would sometimes crawl right to the edge of my husbands hand and seem to look him right in the face almost like she was communicating.
I have a strange question. Does it spin silk. I ask because it was hanging from its ovipositor and a strange sticky substance was on the side of the aquarium. I made certain there were no other bugs in the enclosure.

To the best of our knowledge, they do not spin silk.

Letter 4 – Longhorned Borer Emerges from Carved Mexican Snake!!!

 

Subject: Wood Boring Beetle
Location: Yucatan, Mexico
July 7, 2012 8:20 pm
Last July in 2011 while traveling through the Yucatan in Mexico we stopped at the pyramids of Chichen Itza and purchased a large hand carved wooden snake.
Fast forward about 6 months and started hearing chomping and clicking sounds coming from inside the snake, a few days later there were several talcum like saw dust powder mounds,but no actual holes, i promptly wrapped the snake in a dozen layers of saran wrap. for the past few weeks i’ve noticed more attempts of the insect trying to bore it’s way out but could not break through the saran wrap.
then upon my weekly inspection i finally saw it today burrowing out of the fang of the snake breaking through the plastic and crawling out, sadly we had to put it down due to not wanting invasive insects taking over! the snake has been re wrapped just incase theres more insects (there are holes dug out the entire length of the snake which is approx. 2ft x 6in.x6in.)…. i really love this carving and would hate to part with it, if theres any information you can provide about what this beetle is and if there there could be more than just one on a feeding frenzy! thanks!
Signature: -stephanie

Longhorned Borer Beetle emerges from carved Mexican snake

Hi Stephanie,
This beetle is in the genus
Eburia and there are quite a few species that are native to the United States.  We cannot be certain of the exact species as the members of the family look very similar.  The Ivory Marked Beetle is probably the most distinctive. We occasionally get reports of beetles emerging from finished wood products or milled lumber many years after they were built, but they are usually members in the Metallic Borer Beetle family Buprestidae.  Your Longhorned Borer is in the family Cerambycidae.  You were probably wise to make sure it did not escape.

Letter 5 – Longhorned Borer from Brazil: Unxia species

 

Subject: Beautiful bug!
Location: Marau, Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil
October 3, 2012 10:15 pm
Hi, I live in the south of Brazil and as you can imagine, it’s a country full of magnificent species that one may not see in a whole life time!
I found this bug (well, my cat found it) and I wanted to know its name! I’m very curious!
Signature: Mariana

Longhorned Borer Beetle: Unxia species

Hi Mariana,
It didn’t take us long to identify your Longhorned Borer Beetle in the family Cerambycidae as
Compsocerus violaceus thanks to a photo posted on the FlickR Museum of Life webpage.  We verified that ID on TrekNature as well as on the Worldwide Cerambycidae Photo Gallery.

Correction:  December 14, 2016
Thanks to a correction from Cerambycid expert Doug Yanega, we now know that this is a member of the genus
Unxia, which is pictured on Cerabycidae Catalog Search.

Letter 6 – Longhorned Borer from Oregon might be Neoclytus conjunctus

 

Longhorned Borer Beetle
Longhorned Borer Beetle

Subject: Borers in Oregon
Location: Josephine Co., Oregon
October 19, 2014 5:39 pm
We were splitting Madrone firewood today (10/19/14), and it was full of borers of some kind. There were two varieties. The black & green variety was the most common (probably 90%), but there were also some of the red and black. We’re interested in learning more about them, particularly whether they’re a threat to our woods.
Signature: Jim

Dear Jim,
We believe your Longhorned Borer might be
Neoclytus conjunctus, which is a native species found along the western portion of North America according to BugGuide.  Alas, BugGuide does not offer any specific information on the species.  We suspect it is not a cause for concern as it is a native species.  Your red and black beetle belongs to a different family and we will research its identity later.

6 thoughts on “How To Get Rid Of Asian Longhorn Beetles?”

  1. Hi! I was comparing Mariana’s photo with the photo of the Worldwide Cerambycidae Photo Gallery, and it seems that these beetles are pretty different, the beetle of the Worldwide Cerambycidae Photo Gallery has the “hair” in the 6th segment of the antennae, and the beetle of Mariana’s photo has these hair in the 5th segment of the antennae, the Mariana’s beetle has “drop like” legs, not a constant shape like the Worldwide Cerambycidae Photo Gallery’s beetle. Can it be a dimorfism between male/female? Or another species?

    Reply

Leave a Comment