Distinguishing Asian Exotic Longhorn Beetles from Local Longhorn Beetles already in Whatcom County

Background and History
The Asian Longhorn Beetle, and now the Citrus Longhorn Beetle pose a serious threat to the Pacific Northwest landscapes and forests. Early detection of these pests is necessary for avoiding huge problems like we've witnessed in Chicago and New York. These exotic beetles originate from temperate, southeastern Asia. The Asian Longhorn Beetle and Citrus Longhorn Beetle belong to a species complex, Anoplophora, that all look very similar and are closely related. Until now, only A. glabripennis has come to live in North America. Chicago and New York have suffered from this beetle's invasion for a few years now. The Citrus Longhorn Beetle, A. chinensis, has not been found breeding anywhere in the country. However, in Tukwila, WA, inspectors have identified this beetle and have found evidence of damage to nursery trees this past week (August 20, 2001). With increased international trade, we can expect to see more exotic pest introductions. The beetles come in on nursery trees and pallets used in shipment of products from Asia. This was the case that was reported in Bellingham on July 20, 1998 when a city worker found an adult Asian Longhorn Beetle emerging from shipping pallets.

We do have many longhorn beetles in our neighborhood already, but these borers are not destructive. Our native longhorn beetles remove and begin to recycle the old and sick trees. The exotic longhorn beetles are unusual in the fact that they prefer the healthy trees.

1. 2. 3. 4.

Asian Longhorn Beetle

Citrus Longhorn Beetle

Banded Alder Borer

Oregon Fir Sawyer

1. The Asian Longhorn Beetle, Anoplorophera glabripennis, is a large, robust beetle. The elytra (hardened wings of a beetle) are a shining black with irregular splotches of white. The antennae are quite striking with bands of black and gray. The feet and legs are decorated with a with slate blue pubescence.

2. The Citrus Longhorn Beetle, Anoplorophera chinensis, is very similar in appearance to the Asian Longhorn Beetle since they are closely related.

3. The Banded Alder Borer, Rosalia funebris, has a banded pattern across the elytra and no splotches; the thorax is usually gray with a large black spot in the center. The alder borer is also generally slender as compared to the two exotic longhorn beetles.

4. The Oregon Fir Sawyer, Monochamus sp., is very similar in appearance to the two exotic borers. The Fir sawyer differs in the general robustness and texture. These beetles have elytra that are rough and punctate (bumpy) while the two exotic species are smooth and shining in texture.

For areas of our country where these exotic beetles try to establish, the only solution is to remove and destroy all susceptible trees in infested areas. This is an extreme, expensive process that would be great to avoid. So far, the tree-less buffer zones made in Brooklyn and Chicago have been successful at slowing and minimizing the infestation. Again, we don't want this one here. As with most ills in our lives, early detection is the only curet, so keep your eyes peeled. For more information go to the Asian Longhorn Beetle page.

Links:

Washington State Department of Agriculture press release

Asian Longhorn Beetle Information Invasive Species Information from APHIS

University of Vermont Information (great site)