AUGUSTA — They’re on Maine’s doorstep, if not already here. And the sooner Asian longhorn beetles can be detected, the less damage the tree-killing invasive insects will do to Maine’s forests, a state entomologist told members of the Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine gathered at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show on Wednesday.

Allison Kanoti, an entomologist for the Maine Forest Service, said the recent ice storm presents an opportunity to landowners who experienced tree damage, particularly to maples.

“If you had ice storm damage, you should take the opportunity to survey those storm-damaged trees for Asian longhorn beetles,” Kanoti said on the second day of the three-day, 73rd annual trades show at the Augusta Civic Center.

She said pool filters could be a good place to check for them, too.

The good news is that if someone finds one, it’ll be Maine’s first. But the destructive bugs that feed on and kill hardwoods such as maple, birch, ash, and willow have been reported for some time in western Massachusetts.

“One of the reasons we’re concerned with it is it is basically at our doorstep,” Kanoti said. “Another reason (early detection is important) is this pest is considered eradicable. The earlier we detect it, the less resources we’ll have to spend on finding it and trying to eradicate it.”

She said New Jersey successfully eradicated the wood-boring beetle, which is believed to have come to the United States in wood packing material used to import goods from Asian countries, and the city of Boston is soon expected to do the same.

Kanoti directed attendees to websites for more information about the pests and how to identify them: albmaine.org;http://www.albmaine.org and maine.gov/alb;http://www.maine.gov/alb.

The beetles are glossy black with white spots on their wings, and antennae at least as long as their bodies, which have black and white bands. Females chew into trees and deposit their eggs. The larvae feed in the tree for a year – on bark, leaves, and later on the sapwood just under the bark – then bore out as adults, leaving round exit holes.

 

Keith Edwards can be contacted at 621-5647 or at:

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