APHIS begins eradicating Asian longhorned beetle infestation in South Carolina
The eradication strategy in South Carolina will be like those used for other ALB infestations in the United States.
Photo courtesy of USDA APHIS.

APHIS begins eradicating Asian longhorned beetle infestation in South Carolina

Efforts include establishing quarantine, infested tree removals and potentially using a combination of tree removal and chemical treatment for trees within a half-mile radius of an infested tree.

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On Nov. 9, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and Clemson University’s Department of Plant Industry (DPI) announced their plans for combatting the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) in Charleston County, South Carolina. In June, APHIS and DPI confirmed the beetle is infesting trees in the county.

The eradication strategy in South Carolina will be like those used for other ALB infestations in the United States. It includes establishing a quarantine, removing infested trees, and potentially using, with the landowner’s permission, a combination of tree removal and chemical treatment for trees that are within a half-mile radius of an infested tree.

APHIS and DPI have quarantined 58.6 square miles within Charleston County to prevent the spread of ALB to other areas. The regulated area includes portions of Hollywood, Ravenel, Adams Run, Johns Island and Charleston. By law, people may not move regulated items, such as firewood (all hardwood species), nursery stock, logs, branches, etc., out of the area without a compliance agreement, permit, or certificate. Anyone who conducts commercial work on such items in the regulated area must enter into a compliance agreement with the ALB eradication program. To register for the free compliance training, please call: 1-866-702-9938.

APHIS and its contractor, Davey Resource Group, will begin removing infested trees on November 16. With the landowner’s permission, we will also remove any ALB host trees within a half-mile radius of an infested tree. Trees will be removed with no cost to the landowner. After removing a tree, the contractor will incinerate or chip the cut tree to destroy the ALB life stages (larvae, pupae, and adults) that may be inside. This will kill any ALB in the tree and prevent it from attacking more trees. Chemical treatments will not be used this year but will be considered next year. Inspectors will continue surveying trees and will seek to notify the residents before surveying trees on private property. Inspectors are dressed in USDA or Clemson uniforms and will provide identification if asked.

If you live in the regulated area, please help by allowing officials access to your property to inspect and remove trees. If you live in Charleston County or nearby counties, please look for ALB and examine your trees for any damage that may be caused by the beetle, such as dime-sized exit holes in tree trunks and branches. Please take pictures and, if possible, capture suspicious insects in a durable container and freeze them, which helps to preserve the insect for identification. ALB is not harmful to people or pets. Report the insect or tree damage by calling the ALB hotline at 1-866-702-9938 or online at www.AsianLonghornedBeetle.com.

Currently, 278.10 square miles are regulated for ALB in the United States: 58.6 square miles within Charleston County, South Carolina; 53 square miles in central Long Island, New York; 110 square miles in Worcester County, Massachusetts; and 56.5 square miles in Clermont County, Ohio. APHIS and its state partners have successfully eradicated ALB from Illinois; New Jersey; Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island, and Islip in New York; Boston in Massachusetts; and Stonelick and Monroe Townships in Ohio.

More information on ALB is available at the following website: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/resources/pests-diseases/asian-longhorned-beetle.

PHOTO CREDITS: USDA APHIS