August is National
Tree Check Month, “the time to make sure your trees are healthy, strong and
pest-free,” as the Indiana Department of Natural Resources is reminding
Trees serve as wind
breaks and sun shields, they muffle noise and block unsightly views, and
they help conserve energy and water, prevent soil erosion, provide wildlife
habitat, and clean the air. “For all trees do for us, this month we’re
asking you to take 10 minutes to check yours,” said Megan Abraham, director
of DNR Entomology and Plant Pathology.
The biggest tree
threat in Indiana is the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), an invasive pest
that attacks over a dozen types of trees. ALB can devastate a community’s
trees, so the DNR is urging landowners to examine trees now.
ALBs preferred host
tree is maple, so check those first. Look for round exit holes, chew marks
in bark, wood dust, dead branches, and tunneling in cut wood or fallen
branches. Also look for adult beetles. The beetle is about one to
one-and-a-half inches long, with six legs and a shiny, jet-black body with
white spots and two long black-and-white antennae.
“Once a tree is
infested, it must be removed,” the DNR said. The U.S. Department of
Agriculture and partners have cut down more than 184,000 infested trees in
Massachusetts, Ohio, and New York. Successful eradication programs were
completed in Illinois in 2008 and New Jersey in 2013.
“Early detection is
the key,” Abraham said.
One person can make
a big difference in the battle against ALB, the DNR noted. In 2010 in
Boston, a groundskeeper noticed an exit hole in a maple tree. Fortunately,
only six trees were infested with ALB. Thanks to that one person’s report,
Boston is now ALB-free.
If you see
something suspicious, report your findings by calling (866) 702-9938 or