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Asian Longhorned Beetle

April 30, 2008

The Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) was officially declared to be eradicated from Illinois on April 17, 2008. For an insect to be declared as eradicated, it or its fresh damage must not be found for at least two generations. Although ALB typically has a 1-year life cycle, it can take as long as 2 years. It has been 4 years since the last ALB-damaged trees were found in Illinois. The ceremony took place in the Chicago neighborhood, Ravenswood, where the first ALB in Illinois was discovered in 1998. It was subsequently discovered in several other locations in the Chicago metropolitan area. The beetle attacked and killed healthy maple, birch, horse chestnut, elm, and ash trees.

Asian longhorned beetle adult and emergence hole

Illinois is the first state to eradicate the beetle; infestations still occur in New York and New Jersey. Eradication was achieved through the removal of over 1,500 infested trees, and the application of systemic insecticides to about 50,000 surrounding trees on an annual basis. The cooperation of local citizens in tree removal and treatment, as well as the support of the mayor of Chicago and Chicago government was critical in this success.

Although the beetle has been declared to be eradicated, it is impossible to be sure that no more survive in Illinois. It is important to continue to be on the lookout for this severe pest.

Author: Phil Nixon


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