Missouri residents asked to check for invasive bugs damaging trees


Donna Massie holds the preserved remains of an Asian Longhorned Beetle, Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2008, that she and her husband found this past summer in their Worcester, Mass., backyard. The same invasive insects that years ago threatened Central Park in New York have now been found in more than 1,500 trees in central Massachusetts — only the fourth time these beetles native to Asia have been found in the United States. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

ST. LOUIS–The Missouri Department of Conservation is asking people to check their trees for an insect that can feed on roughly a dozen trees common to the state.

While state experts say there are no known infestations of the Asian longhorned beetle in Missouri, they say now is the best time of year to identify tree damage caused by it:

  • Large, round exit holes;
  • Fine wood shavings collecting around the trunk or on branches
  • Leaves on some branches showing fall colors early

What does the insect look like?

  • Large beetles with black, shiny bodies and white spots.
  • Antennae are long with black and white stripes.

Asian longhorned beetles have been found in Massachusetts, New York, Ohio and California.

Conservation officials say one way to prevent its spread is to take firewood far from the area from where it was harvested.

If you think you’ve spotted the beetle or infested trees, you’re encouraged to report them with photos to the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Forest Health Staff at Forest.Health@mdc.mo.gov.

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