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Asian Longhorn Beetle

What is the Asian longhorn beetle? Asian Longhorn Beetle

The Asian longhorn beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) is a native of China, Korea and Japan, and poses a serious threat to a wide range of broadleaved trees. It has caused extensive damage to trees in the USA and Italy since being accidentally introduced there in recent years.

How did it reach Kent?

Beetle larvae were found in March 2012 at Paddock Wood, near Maidstone, the first ever infestation of the pest in the UK. It is thought the original beetles might have come out of wood packaging material which had been used to import slate from China at a site next to where the outbreak was located.

All wood packaging material imported into the EU should be marked to show that it has been treated to reduce the risk of carrying quarantine pests. Untreated wood packaging is a known pathway for Asian longhorn beetles. It is illegal to import wood into the UK that shows signs of the beetle.

What does the beetle look like?

Adult beetles are large (about 20 - 40 mm long) and shiny black with variable white markings. Their antennae ('horns') are particularly distinctive and longer than their bodies (up to twice the body length) and are black with white or light blue bands.

They are almost identical in appearance to citrus longhorn beetle (Anoplophora chinensis), another non-indigenous long-horned beetle that threatens trees in Britain.

What are the signs?

The most obvious symptoms of Asian longhorn beetle damage are the circular exit holes where the adults come out of the tree. These are about 10mm in diameter and are generally found in the main trunk and branches.

Other signs which might be present, but are much less obvious, include piles of sawdust-like droppings at the base of infested trees, scraped bark and sap bleeding from the sites where eggs have been laid, and bark-feeding damage on smaller branches and shoots.

What should I do if I find one? Where can I report it?

Anybody finding one of these distinctive beetles should secure the specimen (preferably in a sealed glass jar) and contact the Fera Plant Health Helpline 0844 2480071 or email planthealth.info@fera.gsi.gov.uk

An inspector can then collect it.

The beetles are not harmful to humans, although they should be handled with caution as they can nip the skin. Fera should also be notified if there is other evidence of infestation by Asian longhorn beetle, such as exit holes in the trunk of host plants.

Exit holes are generally about 10mm in diameter and found in the upper trunk and branches.