An invasive insect could be set to enter Kentucky. The Asian Longhorn Beetle was spotted in trees southeast of Cincinnati within a few miles of the Ohio River. If it makes it to Kentucky it may be difficult to eradicate.
The beetle has been in the United States since the 1990s, when it stowed away in shipping containers from Asia. Now, it’s living in many forests, where it bores into trees and eventually severs all the vascular tissue and kills the plant.
The beetles don’t have as discriminating tastes as some other pests: they’ll feed on multiple kinds of trees, including maple, birch, elm and willow. Jody Thompson with the Kentucky Division of Forestry says that’s one of the reasons the pest is so dangerous.
“Basically we should be looking for it, is what we should be doing,” he said. “The earlier we can catch it, the easier it is to do something about it. If we do catch it right when it’s introduced in the state, it is possible, with this pest, to deal with it. We can’t say that with some of the other pests.”
The Asian Longhorn Beetle leaves round holes in a tree trunk, about half the size of a dime. To report signs of the insect, call the Division of Forestry, the University of Kentucky Department of Entomology or county extension agents.