The Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) has not been found in Missouri, but it could arrive at any time. ALB infestations in the United States are generally the result of the beetle’s larvae hitching a ride in wood packaging material used to secure heavy freight during shipping from Asia. With the amount of freight coming from overseas and the speed at which it gets here, pest introductions like this are very real threats to Missouri’s trees and forests.
Once established in a new area, ALB begins infesting and killing local trees. The larvae tunnel under the bark and into the heartwood of native hardwoods, eventually causing tree death. Since ALB spends much of its life cycle inside trees, it can easily hitchhike to new locations in firewood.
In the United States, the ALB prefers maple species (Acer spp.), especially red and silver maples. Other known hosts include ash, buckeye, birch, elm, poplar, sycamore, and willow.
Fortunately, ALB infestations can be eradicated, but thousands or even hundreds of thousands of trees may be cut down in the process. Finding an ALB infestation early means fewer trees will be removed.
If you find a beetle that looks like ALB, collect the insect (if possible) or take photos. Immediately report your find by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling MDC’s Forest Entomologist at (573) 815-7901 ext. 2906.