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male and female Asian Longhorned Beetle ALB
  Male            Female
    
 General  Some ALB resistant alternatives species used for replanting (click here for a list)

What is an Asian Longhorned Beetle?

The Asian Longhorned beetle (ALB) is a large, bullet-shaped beetle about 1 to 1.5 inches long.  Shiny and black with white spots, it has exceptionally long antennae that are banded with black and white. (See above. Male on your left and female on your right)

How did it get into the United States?

ALB, which is primarily found in China and areas of Korea likely, arrived in solid wood packing material (SWPM), such as crates and pallets, which accompany commodities moving into the United States.

Where else has the ALB been discovered?

The ALB has been discovered in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois and Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

How and when was the ALB discovered in Bethel?

Bill Skvarla discovered the Asian Longhorned Beetle in early June, 2011 when a light storm downed more limbs than was typical.  Bill investigated and found damage that he had not seen before.  He took a sample to the local representative in the Department of Natural Recourses who sent pictures to Columbus and, in short order, the USDA’s Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS)became involved, cutting down a tree and making a positive identification.

How did the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) get to Bethel, OH and how long has it been here?

It is believed that the ALB arrived in shipping crates, southwest of the village of Bethel.  It’s probably been in the Bethel area for 10-14 years per the USDA.

What about the smaller quarantine area in Monroe Township?

It is believed that this area was infested by the transporting of firewood to the affected area.

How large is this infestation?

At this time, it is unknown how large the infestation is. Southwest Bethel is the epicenter and the USDA is continuing its survey of trees in the surrounding areas.  

How many trees have been identified as infested?

Over 5000 trees have been identified as infested in the 860-acre area in Tate Township with approximately 55 trees having been identified in Monroe Township.  USDA surveys are continuing which will likely increase these numbers

What does "quarantined area" mean?

This means that by law, residents are prohibited from moving or transporting live beetles, firewood, lumber or any infested or "host" tree, branch, twig, stump or other woody materials from the regulated area to outside zones.

What is considered a host tree?

In the United States, the beetle prefers maple species including boxelder, Norway, red, silver and sugar maples. Other preferred hosts are birches, Ohio buckeye, elms, horse-chestnut and willows. Occasional to rare hosts include ashes, European mountain ash, London plantree, mimosa and poplars.

 

Eradication Program

Who is running the eradication program for Ohio?

The program is being run as a partnership between the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the USDA’s Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

What does the current eradication program consisting of?

At this time, the USDA eradication program basically includes two phases:  Phase 1 includes surveys to inspect ALB host trees for signs of infestation and removal and chipping of infested trees; while Phase 2 includes continued surveying with either chemical treatment of high-risk host trees or full removal of high-risk host trees or a combination thereof. 

What is the current proposed “phase 2” program for the Bethel infestation?

The removal of high-risk host trees is being proposed for the Bethel area.  The full host removal program would mean cutting down and chipping every type of tree that could possibly host an ALB through a single life cycle within one-fourth mile of an infested tree, whether the tree is known to be infested or not. That’s 126 acres potentially cleared for any infested tree.  A second environmental assessment (EA) will be issued to address the removal of high-risk host trees.

What authority does the program operate under to allow access onto properties for surveys or tree removal?

These activities are authorized under the authority of the State of Ohio. Under the Ohio Revised Code—Section 927.69, which concerns the “inspection of nursery premises,” and Section 927.70, which concerns the “suppression of harmful or destructive plant pests”—the program can seize, quarantine, treat, or otherwise dispose of the pest, host, article, or commodity in such manner necessary to suppress, control, eradicate, or to prevent or retard the spread of a pest. Federal regulations also prevent the spread of pests injurious to plants and provide for their control and eradication. The Federal regulation for ALB can be obtained through the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 7: Agriculture, Subpart—Asian Longhorned Beetle.

Has the ALB been effective eradicated in any of the other infestation areas?

Yes, it has been effectively eradicated in Chicago, Illinois.

How was the eradication completed?

In Chicago, they surveyed all host trees within a 1.5-mile radius of an infested tree. All positive trees were removed. The chemical treatment of host trees began in 2000 and expanded in 2001 and 2002 to an area-wide treatment program.  During the treatment program, additional host trees that were deemed infested were removed.

What is the chemical being used in the infested areas?

The generic name of the insecticide used is imidacloprid.  When applied using the trunk injection method to susceptible host species on an area-wide basis, imidacloprid can reduce beetle populations as ALB feed on the leaves and twigs of treated trees and die. Control treatments help contain the spread of ALB from currently infested areas and help protect non-infested trees from infestation. With treatments, many valuable trees may be spared from damage and loss. In order to optimize the effectiveness of chemical treatments within the treatment area, it is important to treat all host trees within the designated area. (APHIS)

 

Controversy

Given that this is an invasive pest that poses a significant risk to the nation's hardwood forests, as well as maple syrup, nursery and timber industries and residential trees, why are the people in Bethel fighting the full host removal program?

The Bethel ALB Cooperative (a group of people affected and unaffected alike) agrees with the ODA/USDA that the ALB has to be eradicated from Ohio. Where they disagree is with the “how”. The affected homeowners in Bethel feel that pursuing eradication through the removal of infested trees, leaving un-infested maples standing as "bait" trees, as well as chemical treatments of ALB host trees within a half-mile of infested trees is a commonsense approach balancing eradication with preservation. 

Has this commonsense approached been used in other ALB infested areas?

 There has been a combination of cutting and chemical treatment in every other infestation of ALB discovered in the United States.

Aren’t the people of Bethel being selfish?

No, the Bethel ALB citizens' cooperative is simply asking for the consideration of our ecosystem and how it differs dramatically from any of the other areas that have been affected.  We have not been offered the chemical treatment options afforded all the other areas in the United States. The USDA has repeatedly touted this treatment as 99% effective in preventing ALB infestation.  We have never been advised as to why we are not getting these treatments.  With proper policing of the quarantined areas, this program may draw out the eradication program in duration, but stands to save hundreds of thousand, probably even millions of trees over the lifetime of the program.  It is well worth an added effort to achieve responsible eradication.

If the USDA moves forward with full-host removal, what is the total area and approximate number of trees that would be impacted?

If you were to draw a circle with a one-fourth-mile radius around every known infested tree in Clermont County, that area would be expanding every day that the surveying continues.  There is not a known stopping point as to the outer perimeters of the infested areas. The area in question would encompass at least six square miles as it stands today, or 3,840 acres and impact more than 2.2 million trees.

Are the affected homeowners being compensated for the loss of trees on their properties?

No.  At this time there is no compensation for either the timber being removed nor for the cost of replacement trees,

 

References:

 

Asian Longhorned Beetle: Questions and Answers

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/plant_health/content/printable_version/faq_alb_07.pdf

Worcester, Mass. feels Clermont's beetle pain

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20111125/NEWS01/111260315/Clermont-s-beetle-woes-shared?

Chicago vs. The Asian Longhorned Beetle: A Portrait of Success

http://na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/misc/albsuccess/alb_success.pdf

Questions and Answers: Asian Longhorned Beetle Control Treatments

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/plant_health/content/printable_version/faq_albcon.pdf

Questions and Answers: Ohio Tree Removal for Asian Longhorned Beetle Eradication

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/plant_health/2011/faq_ohio_tree_removal.pdf

Ohio Regulated Area: Asian Longhorned Beetle

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/plant_health/2011/fs_ohio_regulated_area.pdf