P - Pest and Disease
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 Asian Long Horned Beetle  - a threat to our trees | Author Bio info 

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The Asian Longhorned Beetle at close range

The Asian Longhorned Beetle
By Howard Stanley

In China, the Starry Sky Beetle is considered a major pest of hardwood trees in many parts of the country. Based on the Chinese distribution and the recent infestations in the U.S., it is estimated the beetle would survive well in the hardwood forests of southern Canada.

The Asian Long-horned Beetle (ALHB) or Starry Sky Beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) is native to China, Korea and Japan. This insect is a pest of:

  • Birch 
  • Elm 
  • Hackberry 
  • Horsechestnut
  • Maple
  • Mountain Ash 
  • Poplar
  • Silk Tree
  • Sycamore a.k.a. London Plane Tree 
  • Willow

 In China, it primarily attacks trunks and branches of healthy or weakened hardwood trees - and over the last few years, it has been intercepted on import shipments of cargo from Asia. It has been associated with non-manufactured wood packing material, such as pallets, spools and loose wood dunnage.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed the ALHB was found in 2003 in the area bordering the Ontario cities of Toronto and Vaughan. While the insect presents no threat to public health, it does pose a significant risk to Canada's trees and forests.

The beetle kills trees when its larvae feed within trunks and limbs, riddling them with holes.  There are no natural controls in North America that would prevent the beetle's spread.

Tree surveys have determined the central area of infestation to be in a primarily industrial area, roughly bordered by Hwy. 407, Hwy. 400, Finch Ave. W. and Milvan Drive in Woodbridge and Toronto. Survey crews have also found satellite infestations in the Ansley Grove Road area of Woodbridge, Beechwood Cemetery and the Thistletown area of Toronto. The beetle's most common means of travel is the movement of infested firewood.
CFIA  implemented an aggressive campaign to control and eradicate this unwanted pest, with the full co-operation of the City of Vaughan, the City of Toronto and other federal, provincial and municipal partners. In addition Regulated Area was established by Ministerial Order. The movement of live host material and firewood is prohibited from this area. Please refer to these web sites:



Within North America, there are also currently two localized, quarantined populations in the U.S., in New York and Illinois. These populations are already under a continuing eradication program.
The eradication process
In Ontario, eradication is ongoing. More than 160 square kilometres  of the Toronto and Vaughan urban forest have been surveyed, including individual public and private trees, ravines and wood lots. Surveys have been conducted from the ground, by tree climbers and/or bucket truck teams.

There are four levels of activities associated with the ALHB survey and eradication plans:

1. Survey
Crews are evaluating the characteristics of the pest population, as well as making tree identifications. This determines the ALHB dispersal and the impact on host tree material in the containment area. This information is then used to establish and confirm the ALHB Regulated Zone boundaries. Survey crews also follow up on referral calls from the public.

2. Tree removal/disposal
Crews are removing trees that have been identified and tagged by survey staff due to infestation. Trees removed from public and private property that are suitable host trees, but not infested, are chipped on-site. Trees that are infested are transported to a designated CFIA site for research assessment and disposal.
3. Research
Evaluation of tree material is carried out, for the purpose of collecting valuable scientific data and creating a body of knowledge for planned activities. For example, the evaluation can help develop the eradication approach for the satellite areas and generate data for the international science community.

4. Recycling
Crews responsible for chipping and tub grinding turn the ALHB-infested trees into safe, recyclable material.

To reduce the risk of spreading the beetle, residents and hired landscape maintenance companies or property management companies have been asked not to move any tree materials-including nursery stock, firewood and fallen or pruned branches-from the infested area.

Detail on the beetle's biology:
The egg, larva, or pupa can overwinter. Young adults emerge from infested trees in May and may fly several hundred meters to search for a host. However, they tend to attack the same tree from which they emerged. Adults are active from early-summer to mid-fall. They feed on the bark of twigs periodically throughout the mating and egg-laying period. On sunny days the adult beetles are most active from mid-morning to early-afternoon. They usually rest in the canopy on cloudy days. In preparation for egg-laying, females chew oval grooves in the bark in which they lay one egg about 5-7 millimetres in length. On average, each female will live 40 days and during that period will lay about 25-40 eggs - some info exists that  200 may be laid on the rare occasion. Eggs hatch in one to two weeks. Young larvae begin feeding in the phloem tissue and as they mature they migrate into the wood, creating tunnels as they feed. Larvae become pupae, then adults, in the tunnels in summer. The new adults exit the tree through large round holes about 10-15 millimetres in diameter.
Signs of infestation:
1. Oval wounds in the bark, approximately 10-15 millimetres across (the result of adult females chewing a groove in the bark into which she will lay a egg). The wounds may occur anywhere on the tree, including branches, trunk, and exposed roots.

2. Dripping sap is often seen to be flowing from the egg-laying wounds.

3. Large, round holes (10-15 millimetres in diameter), created by the newly emerging adults.

4. Piles of coarse sawdust around the base of the tree and in branch axils.

Adult Identification
The adults are large bluish-black beetles (2.5 to 3.5 centimetres in length) with white spots and very long antennae. The larvae and pupae are normally inside the tree within the larval tunnels. Full grown larvae can reach 50 millimetres in length.

Here's a good website for viewing "look a likes":



Howard Stanley - Bio Information

The son of a dairy farmer, Howard Stanley was raised in West Quebec. Graduating  from Kemptville College of Agricultural Technology in 1980,  his career began at  the   Royal Bank of Canada , then  moving on to Agriculture Canada as an Record of Performance Inspector.

In 1986, Howard became an Agriculture Canada  Plant Protection Inspector in Hamilton. Key activities included  export certification, ship, mill, import, and  domestic inspection plus survey work during the summer months.

He was involved with a major finding which lead to the ban of rooted plants material from an Asian country. Being involved with the initial discovery of Asian Long-Horned Beetle (ALHB) in Waterloo, he was sent to Chicago to learn more about ALHB survey.  Howard lead the initial ALHB survey team in Ontario. He was a Crew Leader in subsequent ALHB surveys and during the Plum Pox Survey in Niagara.

Howard has been involved in a variety of audit functions such as the Food Safety Enhancement Program (aka: Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) ) and has been trained as an ISO  Lead Auditor.

Recently, he  became the Import Coordinator for Ontario. In this role, he is the  liaison between the CFIA and Canadian Border Services  Agency (CBSA) , Customs brokers, importers etc.
Since the discovery of an ALHB infestation in Toronto/ Vaughan in September 2003, Howard has been the ALHB Project Officer.  Howard has used his background and expertise to train Survey Crews, to confirm positive finds, and to be the Project Spokesperson.



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This page was updated August 11, 2004 

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