October 27, 2020
Potential New Threat to Kiawah’s Maritime Forest | Invasive Species Alert
Invasive Species Alert – Asian longhorned beetle (ALB)
State and federal officials are asking Lowcountry residents for help in locating and stopping the spread of a new exotic pest in our area. The Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) was first detected in the United States in 1996 and likely arrived via wooden shipping crates or dunnage used in transporting goods from Asia. ALB populations are currently in Ohio, New York, Massachusetts, and as of May 2020 in South Carolina. The initial discovery in our state was in Hollywood, about 11 miles northwest of Kiawah, and since that time the beetle has also been found in West Ashley and on Johns Island.
Asian longhorned beetles feed primarily on maple trees, willows, elms, and birches. The loss of trees to this pest species throughout the country could spell huge economic losses for land and homeowners and the nursery and forest industries. Trees that are targeted by this pest species are typically destroyed from the inside-out as the ALB larva feeds on the xylem and phloem, tissues that transport water and nutrients throughout the living tree. Mature beetles leave the trees they have been feeding in, making exit holes as big as a ballpoint pen, around late May through October. Mature ALBs can range from one to one-and-a-half inches long, with four-inch long antennas. The beetles are characterized by black and white coloration and bluish feet. Symptoms of the beetle’s presence include sap oozing from the exit hole and sawdust on the lower tree branches.
How you can help
Check host species for symptoms of decline such as crown and branch dieback, defoliation, and shoots developing in abnormal places like the trunk. If you have a declining tree, look closer for large exit holes, oviposition sites and frass on the lower branches and ground around the tree. Signs of ALB are visible and can be found year-round.
If you think you have found an Asian longhorned beetle or an infested tree, please contact Clemson DPI at firstname.lastname@example.org or 864-646-2140.