Adult Description: ALB is a large, distinctive-looking insect measuring 1 to 1.5 inches long, not including its antennae. These antennae, which give the insect its common name, are as long as the body itself in females and almost twice the body length in males. The insect's body is shiny black with white spots; the antennae are banded in black and white. During summer months, adult beetles can be spotted on walls, outdoor furniture, cars, sidewalks, and tree limbs and branches.
Larva Description: Non descriptive. Most field identification is done using adults.
Host Plant: Most hardwood trees.
Ecological Threat: This insect is a serious threat to many species of deciduous hardwood trees in the United States (e.g., maple, elm, willow, birch, horsechestnut, and poplar). During its larval stage, the ALB bores deep into a tree's heartwood, where it feeds on nutrients. This tunneling damages, and eventually kills, the tree. If the ALB were to become established here, it could be one of the most destructive and costly invasive species ever to enter the United States. It threatens urban and suburban shade trees and recreational and forest resources valued at hundreds of billions of dollars. It might also impact such industries as maple syrup production, hardwood lumber processing, nurseries, and tourism.
Biology: While these beetles can fly for distances of 400 yards or more in search of a host tree, they tend to lay eggs in the same tree from which they emerged as adults until the insect population becomes too dense on that tree.
History: ALB came to the United States concealed in solid wood packing material, the pallets and crates used to transport goods from overseas. Nobody is sure exactly when the first ALB arrived here.
U.S. Habitat: Found in hardwood trees. Can invade, forests, suburban and urban areas, parks, wildlands, etc.
Native Origin: Asia
U.S. Present: ALB has been found in NY, NJ, IL, MA, and Toronto, ON.
In Texas, it closely resembles the Cottonwood Borer. Please refer to Asian Longhorn Beetle Look-alikes for more information.
USDA APHIS. 2010. Wanted: Asian Longhorn Beetle. Program Aid No. 1655. Accessed 09 January 2012: http://texasinvasives.org/resources/publications/alb_wantedbrochure.pdf.
USDA APHIS. Asian Longhorn Beetle Look-alikes. Accessed 09 January 2012: http://texasinvasives.org/resources/publications/alb_look_alikes.pdf.