UMass Extension Landscape, Nursery and Urban Forestry Program

Asian Longhorned Beetle

Fact Sheet Category: 
Insects and Mites: Wood Attackers

Pest: Asian Longhorned Beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis)

Insect Order: Coleoptera

Family: Cerambycidae

Host Plants:

Healthy specimens of: all known maples in the USA, horsechestnut, elm, poplar, willow, others.

The Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) is a relatively new introduction into the United States. It is known to occur in five distinct geographic regions of New York City, several suburbs of Chicago and more recently areas of central and eastern Massachusetts. This pest was positively identified in a small area of Worcester, Massachusetts in August 2008 but is not known to occur in any other New England state. The ALB is a wood borer that attacks live, healthy trees; it’s presence usually leads to the death of the host tree. Homeowners and concerned citizens should be aware if its signs and report any suspicious findings immediately to the proper state, federal or Extension personnel.

The Problem:

The Asian Longhorned Beetle was first found in the United States in New York City in August of 1996, infesting numerous Norway maple trees in a specific neighborhood of Brooklyn. To date, thousands upon thousands of trees have been removed from infested areas in New York, Chicago and Massachusetts in an effort to eradicate this pest.  The ALB arrives in this country in wood pallets and shipping crates at points of entry for cargo. Once in this country, the beetles will emerge from the discarded wooden shipping material and seek healthy trees to infest. There have been more than 30 interceptions of this pest, at shipping ports around the nation, since it was first discovered in 1996.

Appearance and Life Cycle:

The adult beetle is approximately 1 1/4" in total body length. It is a shiny black color that resembles patent leather and it has crisp white spots on its back. The antennae are longer than the body and each antennal segment alternates between white and black. Adult beetles emerge from trees some time in June and may be active late into the fall. Female beetles will chew individual "notches" in the bark of trees and lay an egg in each of these sites. Larvae (immatures) soon hatch and feed under the bark by tunneling. Later, in the fall, they tunnel deep into the wood where they spend the winter. They pupate in the spring and adults start emerging in June. Round exit holes, caused by the adults, are about 1/2" in diameter; copious amounts of sawdust can also be seen on the ground at the time of adult emergence.

One to two years of infestation can kill a healthy tree. Currently, these beetles are known to be attracted to all species of maples, horsechestnut, willow, poplar, elm, and other deciduous tree species.

All conifers (pines, hemlocks, spruces, firs etc.) are not attacked by this pest; oaks and ginkgo are also much less susceptible to attack.

Written by: Robert Childs
Revised: 10/2011

Additional Resources:

An adult Asian Longhorned Beetle displaying the characteristic coloration and markings. Photo by: Ken Law, USDA
Immature Asian Longhorned Beetle larvae within the stem of a maple branch that they have severely damaged by their feeding activity. (Photo: R. Childs)
A typical round exit hole of the adult Asian Longhorned Beetle.
Copious amounts of coarse sawdust are produced adult beetles as they emerge from the host tree. Photo by: Dennis Souto, USDA Forest Service
A fairly mature larvae of the Asian Longhorned Beetle.