Asian long-horned beetle

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Asian long-horned beetle
Not evaluated (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Cerambycidae
Subfamily: Lamiinae
Tribe: Monochamini
Genus: Anoplophora
Species: A. glabripennis
Binomial name
Anoplophora glabripennis
(Motschulsky, 1853)
Closeup of Anoplophora glabripennis

The Asian long-horned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis), also known as the starry sky, sky beetle, or ALB, is a species native to eastern China, Japan, and Korea. This species has now been accidentally introduced into the United States, where it was first discovered in 1996,[1] as well as Canada, Trinidad, and several countries in Europe, including Austria, France, Germany, Italy and UK. This beetle is believed to have been spread from Asia in solid wood packaging material.


Taxonomy and morphology[edit]

Common names for Anoplophora glabripennis in Asia are the starry sky beetle, basicosta white-spotted longicorn beetle, or smooth shoulder-longicorn, and it is called the Asian long-horned beetle in North America.[2]

Adult A. glabripennis are very large insects with bodies ranging from 1 to 1.5 cm (0.39 to 0.59 in) in length and antennae which can be as long as 4 cm (1.6 in) or 1.5–2 times longer than the body of the insect.[2] They are shiny black with about 20 white spots on each wing cover and long antennae conspicuously banded black and white. These beetles can fly, but generally only for short distances, which is a common limitation for Cerambycidae of their size and weight. The upper sections of the legs of the adults are whitish-blue. Anoplophora glabripennis can be distinguished from related species by the markings on the wing covers and the pattern of the antennae.[2]

Life cycle[edit]

Adult females lay eggs by chewing a small pit through the bark of the host tree to the cambium and lay one 5–7 mm (0.20–0.28 in) long egg underneath the bark in each pit. Eggs hatch in 13–54 days depending on temperature. Eggs that have not developed enough, such as those laid in late summer or early fall, will overwinter and hatch the following season. Larvae are cylindrical and elongate and can be 50 mm (2.0 in) long and 5.4 mm (0.21 in) wide. Larvae first create a feeding gallery in the cambial region, but more mature larvae tunnel to the heartwood as they feed. Larvae go through at least five instars over 1–2 years; which can vary due to host or temperature conditions. Larvae expel frass from their tunnels near the original oviposition site. Asian long-horned beetle larvae do not pupate before they reach a critical weight, so additional larval instars can occur. Pupation usually occurs in spring at the end of the larval tunnel in the sapwood, eclosion occurs 12–50 days later, and adults will chew out of the tree approximately one week after eclosion.[2] Adults feed on leaf petioles and can chew through bark on small branches to feed on the vascular cambium.[2]

Eggs, larvae or as pupae can overwinter within the tree. In their overwintering phase, A. glabripennis are inactive and development does not occur. They resume their life cycle when temperatures are above 10 °C (50 °F).[2][3]

Upon emergence, females can copulate, although an obligatory maturation period is required for feeding after emergence for ovarian maturation. Laboratory studies have estimated the female maturation period lasts 9–15 days.[4] Adult males have mature spermatozoa before emergence, and feeding is necessary only to sustain their normal activity.[5] Adult longevity and fecundity are influenced by conditions such as the larval host plant and temperature. Laboratory reared males and females can live up to 202 and 158 days, respectively.[2]

Asian long-horned beetle - Kyle Ramirez



In its native range, ALB primarily infest trees maple, poplar, willow , and elm. In the United States, ALB has completed development on species of these genera and also Aesculus, Albizia, birch, katsura, ash, planes, and Sorbus. In Canada, complete development has been confirmed only on maple, birch, poplar, and willow, although oviposition has occurred on other tree genera. Maple is the most commonly infested tree genus in North America, followed by elm and willow. In Europe, complete development has been recorded on maple, Aesculus, alder, birch, hornbeam, beech, ash, planes, poplar, Prunus, willow, and Sorbus. The top five host genera infested in Europe, in decreasing order, are maple, birch, willow, Aesculus, and poplar. Not all poplar species are equally susceptible to ALB attack.[3]


Adults generally reinfest the tree they emerged from however, when they do disperse, they can travel up to approximately 2.5 km (1.6 mi) from their host tree in a growing season in search of new hosts, although in a mark-recapture experiment about 98% of adults were recaptured within 1 km (0.62 mi) of their release point.[5][2]


Although the Asian long-horned beetle can fly for unbroken distances of 400 yards (370 m) or more in search of a host tree, they tend to lay eggs in the same tree from which they emerged as adults, migrating only when population density becomes too high. During the summer months, a mated adult ALB female chews some 35 to 90 individual depressions into the host tree's bark and lays an egg in each of the pits. The white, apodous eruciform larvae hatch out in 10–15 days.

The larvae are straight, with their front ends somewhat broader than the rest of the body. This is characteristic of many Cerambycid larvae, and so is the fact that instead of using legs to navigate their tunnels, they have fleshy pads on their segments. They press the pads against the tunnels walls for grip as they stretch or contract their bodies.[6]

As they eat, they tunnel into the tree's phloem and cambium layers beneath the tree bark. After several months, they tunnel deeper into the tree's heartwood where they mature into pupae. The total process from egg to pupation takes some 10–22 months, depending on the season, the weather, and the quality of the food supplied by the tree. Generally speaking, the phloem and cambium are the best food sources, but more exposed to predators such as woodpeckers, and a lot wetter. Heartwood and even sapwood are less nutritious, but more secure, so that is where the mature larva digs its pupation chamber.[7] They do not pupate before they have gained the necessary mass to support their adult activities and functions.

The pupal stage may last several months if pupation occurred at the start of the cold season, causing the pupa to go into diapause. The adults emerge from the pupae near the surface of the tree when the climate outside causes them to break diapause. They emerge as early as May and as late as October or November, depending on climate. The full-grown adult ALBs emerge through circular exit holes that typically measure 10–15 mm in diameter but can range from 6 to 20 mm.[5]

Adults typically lay eggs on the plant they developed on during immature stages rather than colonizing new plants unless the host plant is dead.[2]


Asian long-horned beetle gallery development and exit holes weaken the integrity of infested trees and can eventually result in death of severely infested trees. Larvae are considered to be the most dangerous because they tunnel in the cambial region of wood. Larvae feeding reduces wood quality. After a tree has been occupied by generations of the beetles, larval feeding can disrupt the tree's vascular tissues, encourage fungal growth, and cause structural weakness, any of which might kill the tree. Adult Asian long-horned beetles are considered to be of minor importance since they feed on twigs, foliage and occasionally on fruit-bearing trees. Asian long-horned beetle attack both healthy and stressed trees, of any size from potted to mature trees.

The Asian long-horned beetle is now one of the most destructive non-native insects in the United States; it and other wood-boring pests cause an estimated $3.5 billion in annual damages in the United States.[8]

Detection of infestation[edit]

Mature beetles emerge from trees beginning in late May and lasting through October (Northern hemisphere) with a frequency peaking in July. Tree infestation can be detected by looking for exit holes 3/8 to 3/4 inches in diameter (1–2 cm) often in the larger branches of the crowns of infested trees. Sometimes sap can be seen oozing from the exit holes with coarse sawdust or "frass" in evidence on the ground or lower branches. Dead and dying tree limbs or branches and yellowing leaves when there has been no drought also signal ALB infestation. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) research indicates this beetle can survive and reproduce in most sections of the country where suitable host trees exist.

As an invasive species[edit]

Adult ALBs can be seen from late spring to fall, depending on the climate. The ALB was first discovered in the United States in 1996 in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn. Shortly after, another infestation was detected in Amityville on Long Island. Since then infestations have been found in the Islip area of Long Island, in Queens, and in Manhattan. In fact, several infested trees were removed around Central Park. The ALB was discovered in Chicago in 1998. An ALB infestation was detected in Hudson County, New Jersey in 2002 and in the Central New Jersey Middlesex and Union Counties in 2004. In 2008 a sizeable infestation resulting in the removal of more than 28,000 trees was discovered in Worcester, Massachusetts.[9] Ongoing inspection of host trees within the 98 sq mi (250 km2) quarantine area of Worcester county[10] has revealed that, since 2008, over 19,000 trees were infested;[11] there is some evidence that the infestation may date back as far as 1997.[12] On July 5, 2010, six infested trees were found on the grounds of the Faulkner Hospital in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts,[13] which is across the street from the Arnold Arboretum, where an infestation is poised to devastate the oldest arboretum in America. As of 2011, the ALB is considered a threat to the forestry industry in Ohio and steps are being taken to eradicate it.

Alert workers have uncovered and reported ALBs in warehouses in CA, FL, IL, IN, MA, MI, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SC, TX, WA, and WI in the United States, and in the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario, Canada.[14] After an aggressive containment program and with the last confirmed sighting in 2007, Canada declared itself free of the beetle on April 5, 2013 and lifted restrictions on the movement of tree materials.[15]

The beetle has also invaded Britain, Austria and Germany.


The ALB was believed to have arrived in New York City in the 1980s in wood packing material. According to Victor Mastro, the Director of Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Laboratory on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, the center of the infection zone was a warehouse which imported plumbing supplies from China (Smith, 2003). The infestations in Hudson County, New Jersey and on Long Island are believed to have spread from the Brooklyn point of entry. The infestations in Chicago and central New Jersey are believed to have come from a separate point of entry. The Chicago infestations were eventually discovered to be surrounding three warehouse locations initially Ravenswood area. The other two areas were close to ports where China's crates and packages could enter, Addison which is 5 miles away from the O'Hare International Airport and Summit which is 15 miles southwest of downtown Chicago.

The Greenpoint infestation was first reported by Ingram Carner of Greenpoint on a Saturday in August 1996 and identified by Cornell University entomologist Richard Hoebeke on August 19. The Amityville infestation was brought, inadvertently, from Brooklyn by the Mike Ryan Tree Services, a tree pruning company, which performs work for the NYNEX telephone company.[16]

Range in North America[edit]

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is spearheading efforts to fight the ALB infestation in the Greater Toronto Area.

In North America, the Asian longhorned beetle was first discovered in August 1996 in Brooklyn, New York and has since been found in other areas of New York City, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Ohio.[2][17][18][19][20] As of 2015, the beetle is believed to be eradicated in some areas where it has been found:[2]

  • Illinois: Chicago
  • Massachusetts: Worcester
  • New Jersey: Jersey City
  • New York: Islip, Manhattan, and Staten Island

It was first discovered in Canada in Toronto and Vaughan, Ontario.[21]

Range in Europe[edit]

Populations have also been found in European countries including Austria, Belgium, England, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.[2][22]

Eradication efforts[edit]

Over 1,550 trees in Chicago have been cut down and destroyed to eradicate ALB from Chicago. In New York, over 6,000 infested trees resulted in the removal of over 18,000 trees; New Jersey's infestation of over 700 trees led to the removal and destruction of almost 23,000 trees,[23] but infested trees continue to be discovered.[24] 28,000 trees have been removed in Worcester, MA because of the nearly 20,000 trees confirmed to be infested with the Asian longhorned beetle. The December 12, 2008 ice storm likely resulted in significant moving of infested downed limbs because of homeowners clearing debris within the infestation following the devastating ice storm. This has complicated the eradication effort. A Worcester exterminator has had a beetle in his collection since 1997, and USDA APHIS PPQ has confirmed his finding, meaning the beetle has been in Worcester for at least 13 years, giving it a very long time to move about, especially since vehicles were often parked under infested trees, giving the beetles an opportunity to drop onto cars and be transported elsewhere.

The US Federal government is trying to eradicate this species primarily for two reasons:

  • If it becomes established it could significantly impact natural forests and urban environment, with an estimated death toll of 1.2 billion trees if it spread nationwide.[25]
  • Due to the current limited infestation size, it is believed that eradication efforts can be successful.

The steps that have been taken to eliminate the ALB include:

  • Quarantines. Quarantines have been established around infested areas to prevent accidental spread of ALB by people.
  • Infested trees cut and chipped. All infested trees are being removed and chipped in place. The stumps of infested trees are ground to below the soil level. All tree removal is done by certified tree care personnel to ensure that the process is completed properly. New York and Chicago began this eradication process in 1997 with thousands of dollars in effort to complete the project.
  • Insecticide treatments. Research is underway to determine the effectiveness of certain insecticides such as imidacloprid against ALB. Insecticidal treatments have begun in New York and Chicago in hopes of preventing and containing infestations. Chicago's program of imidacloprid treatments for healthy trees of potential host species within a one-eighth to one-half mile (200–800 m) radius of infested trees successfully removed Illinois from quarantine in August 2006. As of December 2006, New Jersey's policy was to cut down all healthy trees of the potential host species within a one-eighth to one-quarter mile (200–400 m) radius of infested trees.
  • Extensive surveys. All host trees on public and private property located within an established distance from an infested area are surveyed by trained personnel. Infested areas are re-surveyed at least once per year for 3–5 years after the last beetle or infested tree is found.
  • Shipping restrictions. The use of Solid Wood Packing Materials (SWPM) for maritime shipping is regulated for adequate treatment methods at certain ports.[26][27]

US customs regulations were changed on September 18, 1998 (effective December 17, 1998) to require wooden packing materials from China be chemically treated or kiln-dried to prevent further infestations of the Asian long-horned beetle from arriving. Pest inspection, new rules, and public awareness are the key steps to prevention of the spread of the Asian long-horned beetle.

Trees that are being planted to replace host trees include: Serviceberry or Shadbush, Ironwood, Southern catalpa, Turkish filbert, Ginkgo, Honey locust, Kentucky coffeetree, Tuliptree, Dawn redwood, White oak, Swamp white oak, Bur oak, English oak, Japanese lilac, Bald cypress, Basswood, and Little-leaf Linden.

In August of 2011, the Asian longhorned beetle was declared eradicated from Islip, New York.[28]

In March of 2013, the Asian longhorned beetle was declared eradicated from the state of New Jersey.

In April of 2013 the Government of Canada announced that the Asian long-horned beetle was eradicated from Canada. It had last been seen in 2007.[29]

In May of 2013, the Asian longhorned beetle was declared eradicated from the boroughs of Manhattan and Staten Island in New York.

Possible outcome from infestation[edit]

Asian long-horned beetles are detrimental to any ecosystem they inhabit. In China, approximately 40% of poplar plantations have been damaged, meaning the wood is good only for packing material. In the Ningxia Province of China, more than 50 million trees were destroyed over a three-year period because of the beetles. These beetles have the ability to significantly alter the composition of North American hardwood forests. It is estimated that nearly one-third of all trees would have to be destroyed in the United States if Anoplophora glabripennis were to spread throughout the country. The potential for widespread distribution in North America and the attack of a wide range of host trees is also very possible.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "New York Invasive Species Information". Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Meng, P.S.; Hoover, K.; Keena, M.A. (2015). "Asian Longhorned Beetle (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae), an Introduced Pest of Mapleand Other Hardwood Trees in North America and Europe" (PDF). Journal of Integrated Pest Management 6 (4). doi:10.1093/jipm/pmv003. 
  3. ^ a b Robert A. Haack, Franck Hérard, Jianghua Sun & Jean J. Turgeon (2009). "Managing invasive populations of Asian long-horned beetle and citrus long-horned beetle: a worldwide perspective". Annual Review of Entomology 55: 521–546. doi:10.1146/annurev-ento-112408-085427. PMID 19743916. 
  4. ^ M. A. Keena (2002). "Anoplophora glabripennis (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) fecundity and longevity under laboratory conditions: comparison of populations from New York and Illinois on Acer saccharum" (PDF). Environmental Entomology 31 (3): 490–498. doi:10.1603/0046-225X-31.3.490. 
  5. ^ a b c Jiafu Hu, Sergio Angeli, Stefan Schuetz, Youqing Luo & Ann E. Hajek (2009). "Ecology and management of exotic and endemic Asian longhorned beetle Anoplophora glabripennis". Agricultural and Forest Entomology 11 (4): 359–375. doi:10.1111/j.1461-9563.2009.00443.x. 
  6. ^ Imms' General Textbook of Entomology: Volume 1: Structure, Physiology and Development Volume 2: Classification and Biology. Berlin: Springer. 1977. ISBN 0-412-61390-5. 
  7. ^ Bannister, Anthony; Skaife, Sally; Ledger, John (1979). African insect life. Feltham: Country Life Books. ISBN 0-600-34920-9. 
  8. ^ ""Economic Impacts of Non-Native Forest Insects in the Continental United States" at Journalist's". 
  9. ^ "Beetle problem a familiar story". Worcester Telegram & Gazette. 2008-08-24. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Beetles found in more trees". Worcester Telegram & Gazette. 2008-10-29. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  12. ^ "Beetle may be pinned to '97". Worcester Telegram & Gazette. 2008-08-30. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  13. ^ "Boston readies to battle beetles". The Boston Globe. July 6, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Asian beetle pest eradicated from Canada". CBC News. 5 April 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-06. 
  15. ^ "Asian Long-horned Beetle eradicated from Canada". News Release. Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Retrieved 5 April 2013. 
  16. ^ APHIS Web - PPQ - Asian Longhorned Beetle - New Pest Advisory Group Report[dead link]
  17. ^ "Press Release". 2002-10-11. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  18. ^ "August 7, 2008 Pest alert: Asian long-horned beetle detected in Massachusetts". 2008-08-07. Archived from the original on 23 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  19. ^ "August 7, 2008 Tree-devouring Asian beetle found in Worcester". 2008-08-07. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  20. ^ "Browning in Greendale". August 8, 2008. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  21. ^ September 18, 2003 Asian Longhorned Beetle discovered in York Region
  22. ^ "Aziatische boktor in Winterswijk". Retrieved 18 August 2012. 
  23. ^ Newspaper Archive (dead link as of at least March 16, 2009)
  24. ^ "June 11, 2010 Detailed Map Showing New York City's Asian long-horned beetle infestation from 2007 to 2010". Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  25. ^ Mance III, Dave (Winter 2008). "Knots & Bolts: Notes from the Quarantine Zone". Northern Woodlands (Center for Northern Woodlands Education) 15 (4): 18. Retrieved 29 July 2009. 
  26. ^ "A Summary of U.S. Entry Requirements According to 7CFR 319.40". 1998-12-17. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  27. ^ "Requirements for Wood Packing Material Products (SWPM)". Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  28. ^
  29. ^ "Asian beetle pest eradicated from Canada". Apr 5, 2013. 

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