Mission: Asian longhorned beetle
Is the Asian longhorned beetle in your town?
The United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) wants Maine on the lookout for the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB). If it ever moves to Maine it promises to have a devastating impact on our maple trees, other hardwoods, and the species that rely on these trees to survive. Look up. Do you see any spotted beetles with very long black and white banded antennae? Do you see signs of their activity?
If we don’t find and stop the Asian longhorned beetle, we’ll lose more than trees.
Christine Markham, USDA APHIS National Director, ALB Eradication Program
1. Print the ALB species card
2. Print a Upland Species Survey datasheet
4. Look for the beetle, or signs of the beetle detailed on the species card
5. Go to your My Vital Signs page (link at top right) to add your "ALB found" or "ALB not found" observation
-Add to your Field Notes the number of trees you looked at (1 or more)
-Add to your Field Notes the species of trees you looked at
6. Go to the Beetle Detectives website to send your observation to the USDA
-Pick "Maine-Vital Signs, Gulf of Maine Research Institute"
-Copy and paste the URL to your Vital Signs observation as part of your description
-NOTE: USDA asks that you look at a minimum of 10 host trees:
>Teachers & students: Pool your class data to reach 10 trees
>Citizen scientists: Don't have 10 host trees nearby? Work with your neighbors!
7. When you report your observations to Beetle Detectives website they want to thank you with some cool items that will help you in the field (a field notebook, a hand lens, and a nylon disc).
Why this Mission matters
The ALB grows inside hardwood trees. The tunneling larvae eventually kill trees like maples and birches that are central to forest ecosystems and developed areas throughout Maine.
Direct from the USDA's Beetle Busters website:
Since it was first discovered in Brooklyn, New York in 1996, the beetle has caused tens of thousands of trees to be destroyed in Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. If the ALB were to become established here, it could become one of the most destructive and costly pests ever to enter the United States. If we don’t find and stop the ALB, we’ll lose more than trees. We’ll lose industries worth billions of dollars – and wildlife habitats too. Our yards and neighborhoods will take decades to recover.
With your help, Maine Forest Service and USDA APHIS will be better able to develop a response plan in the early stages of an infestation. This provides many more options, and will save trees and state and federal resources in the process.
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