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What Minnesotans Should Know About the Asian Long-Horned Beetle

You may have heard of the Asian long-horned beetle, but have not really paid attention to what you’ve heard other than enough to know it’s not good. If you are in an area that is in danger of losing trees to this invasive beetle, like New York City, Chicago, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, and Toronto, then you’ll want to know a little more. Here’s what you need to know.

What Trees Does it Infest?

Hardwood trees, such as Maples, elms, willows, and birches seem to be the trees of choice for the Asian long-horned beetle. There is an area roughly 48 acres large that’s currently threatened by the beetle. This stretches all the way from the Great Lakes to New England. If these forests are damaged too much, then drinking water quality will be at risk, as well as several rare species. The red maples and the sugar maple would be particularly devastating to lose, as they are crucial for the maple syrup industry.

What Impact? Could the Asian long-horned beetle Have in Minnesota?

The beetle could destroy trees in any type of community, from rural to urban. If an infested tree is not removed right away, then it will become a breeding ground, and more trees will get infested. The USDA estimates that if the Asian long-horned beetle were to establish itself across the country, then 30% of all trees in urban areas could be at risk. Estimates show the damage could cost around $669 billion.

The beetle could completely annihilate the maple syrup industry, which is valued at $73.5 million. It is a major economic driver in several states, stretching from Maine to Wisconsin. It could have an impact on tourism. The fall colors and foliage on the East Coast and in the Midwest are big attractions. In New England, this type of tourism is estimated at $1 billion of revenue a year.

How to Prevent the Spread

As an individual, there is a couple of thing you can do. For one, if you go camping, do not move firewood from place to place. Burn it where you buy it. Inspect your trees. If you see small holes the size of dimes, or the shiny black beetles themselves, then you have a problem and should report it to the appropriate authorities in your area.

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