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Asian long-horned beetle

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Asian long-horned beetle
Image of Anoplophora glabripennis.jpg
Scientific Classification
* Domain: Eukaryota
Binomial Name

Annoplophora glabripennis

73851 orig.jpg
Picture taken by James Appleby

The Asian Longhorn Beetle (ALB), otherwise known as Anoplophora glabripennis, is known for infesting trees and destroying forests in the U.S. They drill holes in trees which look grotesque. They are about an inch long and their unique body markings and colors sets them apart from the other beetles in order Coleoptera. They reproduce sexually and are oviparous. The ALB is originally from Asia hence its name Asian Long-horned Beetle. The ALB infests various types of hardwood trees. They were accidentally introduced to the U.S. and are destroying much of the trees in U.S.

Body Design


To identify the ALB from the other kinds of beetles is this: A shiny, jet black body with distinctive white spots, body is 1 to 1.5 inches long in length, long antennae with black and white stripes, six long legs, and may have metallic looking blue feet.[2]

Life Cycle


The Asian long-horned beetles life cycle undergoes metamorphosis. The ALB goes through the process of complete metamorphosis. Complete metamorphosis includes a development of four stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Once the egg hatches, the ALB is on its own without its parents. They go through 5 stages of growth as a larva and grow to about two inches before going into the pupa stage.[3] The larvae will burrow in towards the tree before pupation. The ALB spends about twenty days in the pupa stage before emerging as an adult in late June to early July. Usually the adult ALBs reproduce until the first hard frost.

To start the reproduction process, the male ALB connects his antennae with the female's to initiate the start of reproduction. If the female doesn't reject the male, he will mount the female and start the process. ALBs reproduce sexually with internal fertilization and are oviparous. Being oviparous means that the female ALBs lay eggs after fertilization.[4] They usually lay one egg at a time up to 80 eggs in the bark of trees.[5] Once the eggs hatch, it take about one to two years from egg to full development as an adult. The adult female ALB usually lives to about 66 days, while the male ALB usually lives up to about 50 days.[6] The ALB is in the order Coleoptera with about 370000 other species, so what distinguishes them from the other beetles in the order? The answer is their unique body as read about in body design, with their black and white body.[7]


Point Map of Anoplophora glabripennis

As it can be assumed by its common name, Asian Longhorned Beetles (ALB) are originally inhabitants of Asia. They are native to China, Japan, and Korea. [8] ALBs, both larvae and adults, feed on tissues of a healthy living tree. Female ALBs chews depressions into the bark of various hardwood trees such as maple, elm, horsechestnut, willow, sycamore, and birch. to lay its eggs. After hatching, growing inside the tree, the larvae feed on the tree tunneling through the cambium (fresh sapwood) and to the xylem (heartwood). While the larvae feed on the inside of the tree, the adults feed on the outer parts of the tree such as leaves, twigs, and etc. [9] [10] Currently, there are no known predators of ALBs. [11]

Despite of their capability of flying a distance of over 1,530 yards through a season, [12] they often remain in the tree where they emerged to lay their own eggs or venture to the suitable trees for breeding nearby. The beetles are quite slow and only fly on hot, sunny days. Their flight period lasts the entire vegetation period from April to October, being concentrated between June and August. [8] One of the quirks of ALBs is that an adult, free-flying ALBs are practically infatuated with the Shantung maple (Acer mono), a species native to eastern China. [13]

Invasive Species


Location and Method of Introduction

The ALB was first identified in the U.S. at New York City and Chicago in the years of 1996 and 1998. Untreated wooden packaging crates consisting of ALBs' larva was transported from China.[12] The ALB spread throughout the U.S. as those woods were distributed to markets. ALBs have also been detected in Massachusetts, Ohio, Hudson County, and Illinois. However, they are not yet to be found in western states. [9]

Environmental Impact

ALB larvae eating inside the tree form galleries in the trunk and branches which disrupts the pathways for water and nutrients. The ALBs grow inside the tree until they are fully matured which in the end kills the tree.[9] Because they are killing the trees, they are taking away the wood that could've been used for furniture or homes and trees that could be used as homes for other plants and animals. The cost of damages to this date exceeds half a billion dollars and it is estimated that if the ALB is spread to all urban areas in the U.S, several hundred billion dollars worth of damage would occur.[8]

Control Methods

The only effective means in eliminating ALB is to remove and destroy infested trees. They are trying to prevent human-assisted spread by doing regulatory activities such as the "Don't Move Firewood". Even though the most effective way to be rid of the beetles is to remove the infected trees, research in the U.S. and Asia is going into trying to find an alternate way so they won't have to take the trees away.[9] A method which insect behaviorist Michael T. Smith calls the attract-and-kill system places sentinel trees that are sprayed or injected with an insecticide in an area believed to be infested. By using trees like maple, poplar, willow, and elm which the ALBs prefer, trees in the region can be protected as well as capturing and destroy ALBs. [14]


(3:20) Asian long-horned beetle, scientific name, Anoplophora glabripennis This is a species of beetle whose larvae bore in live trees. At that time there was no recourse when you found an infested tree except you cut it down, burn it, or chip it into pieces so small that no larva could survive inside of it. So, I happened to go into this one yard which had a magnificent maple tree; the canopy of the tree filled the entire backyard. And I found evidence of the Asian long-horned beetle. In one of the most distressing things that I've had to do in my career was to tell the homeowner that this wonderful, beautiful tree was going to have to be destroyed. And she was clearly heartbroken and understandably so. This tree had been part of her life, she had grown up in this house. But, she understood the need to do this, so that Chicago would not have such a widespread infestations of these that every of this type would be destroyed. This demonstrates, on a very small scale, the impact of exotic invasive species.


  1. Anoplophora glabripennis Wikispecies. Web. last modified on 31 October 2015. Unknown author.
  2. Exposed: The Asian Longhorned Beetle The Nature Conservancy. Web. December 2, 2015. unknown author
  3. Asian Long-Horned Beetle Life Cycle. Orkin Web. 2015. Published 2015. Unknown Author.
  4. Keena, Melody and Sanchez, Vicente. Reproductive Behaviors of Asian Long-Horned Beetles."Forest Service Home" Web. November 6, 2006. Published September 22, 2009.
  5. Smith. Reproduction. "University of Michigan" Web. December, 2001. Published December, 2001.
  6. Smith. Reproduction. "University of Michigan" Web. December, 2001. Published December, 2001.
  7. Asian Long-Horned Beetles. "Orkin" Web. 2015. 2015. Unknown Author.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Wermelinger, Beat et al.. The invasive Asian longhorned beetle Information for Forest Management. Web.07.10.2014 (modified).
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Asian Longhorned Beetle FAQs United States Department of Agriculture. Web. accessed November 16, 2015.Unknown Author
  10. Asian Longhorned Beetle New York Invasive Species Information. Web. accessed November 12, 2015. Unknown Author.
  11. Nisley, Rebecca New Pheromone Traps Lure Asian Longhorned Beetles Out of Hiding United States Department of Agriculture. Web. Last Modified: 08/29/2011.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Asian Longhorned Beetles United States Department of Agriculture. Web. Published June 2000. Unknown Author.
  13. New Defenses Against the Daunting Asian Longhorned Beetle United States Department of Agriculture. Web. Published June 2000. Unknown Author.
  14. Tapping the Senses To Catch Asian Longhorned Beetles United States Department of Agriculture. Web. Published February 2004 . Unknown Author.