Searching for an invasive tree-killing black and white beetle
Conservation agencies are asking you for a favor. They want you to look for a bug.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy are all asking that you take 10 minutes sometime this month and look for the Asian longhorned beetle. The insect is a tree killer.
“It can attack 12 different species of hardwood trees, among other things. And once it's in a neighborhood, basically all trees need to be removed. So we definitely don't want to have that scenario in Michigan,” said Joanne Foreman, the invasive species communication specialist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Some of the tree species it damages are maples, elms, and birches.
So far, the Asian longhorned beetle has not been found in Michigan.
But, the conservationists are hoping if you’re taking a hike, walking the neighborhood, or visiting a park, you take some time to examine the trees to see if the beetle has arrived.
“It's one, to one-and-a-half inches, just in its body. Now, its antenna are about another inch or so long. So it's quite big. It's shiny black and it has white blotches sort of all over its back and wings area,” Foreman said, adding that the beetle’s antennae are black with white stripes.
Another sign is a sort of chunky sawdust coming out of a hole about the diameter of a pencil. Those wood shavings might also be lying on the ground or in the branches.
There are several other insects that look similar and that’s caused a number of false reports. Take a good look at the photo above.
If you see an Asian longhorned beetle or a tree that looks like it’s been damaged by one, you’re asked to catch it and put it in a jar or take a photo of it. Record the location and report it as soon as possible by calling 800-292-3939 or MDA-info@Michigan.gov.