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Traps Target Asian Longhorned Beetle

[photo:] Installed Asian longhorned beetle trap.  Photo by Melody Keena, U.S. Forest Service.The Asian Longhorned Beetle, a non-native invasive insect species, was first discovered in the United States in the New York City area in August 1996.  Additional infestations were discovered in the Chicago area (July 1998), Jersey City, NJ (October 2002), Ontario, Canada (September 2003), Worcester, MA (August 2008), Boston, MA (2010), and most recently in Bethel, OH (June 2011). Typically, ALB is found in cities and industrial areas near where it first arrived in solid wood packing material. Today, ALB infestations have been found (some have been eradicated) in five states in the U.S. and seven European countries. 

When an ALB infestation is found, an eradication effort begins and any tree found to have signs of the beetle is cut and chipped.  To detect infested trees, the eradication program uses ground surveyors and tree climbers to search for oviposition pits and exit holes on tree trunks and branches. However, ground surveys are only 30% effective at best and climbing is labor intensive and expensive.  Since the first ALB infestation was found, the program has wanted a trap to use in detecting this beetle, which is particularly harmful to maple trees and also affects other hardwoods. 

When first discovered in 1996, little was known about Asian Longhorned Beetle.  Since that time a great deal of research has been carried out and considerable new information on how to detect and control the invasive pest is available.  Early detection of the species is critical to slowing its spread and ultimately eradicating it.  

Over the years, Northern Research Station scientists and partners worked hard to develop an ALB trap using male pheromones, identified by an Agricultural Research Service scientist, as an attractant.  In 2007, 2008, and 2012, field trapping experiments were conducted in China.  In 2009, 84 traps were placed in trees in Worcester, MA, within a known infestation area.  Additional traps have been placed in Worcester, MA, every year since (2010--40 traps; 2011--500 traps; 2012--392 traps; and 2013--210 traps).  In addition, 40 traps were deployed in the New York City quarantine area in 2010.  The trap and lure continue to be improved and are now being used on a trial basis by federal and state agencies and by the Sentinel Plant Network Arboreta in 15 states and 3 other countries to check quarantine and high-risk areas for this insect.


The Forest Service has partnered with many organizations to make this project a success.

Acres of Forest Affected

Up to 59,402,000 acres of maple birch forest
and 35% of urban trees in the U.S.   

ALB first detected in the U.S. in 1996.
First traps deployed in 2009.

4 (About 15% of 2 scientists’
and 2 technicians’ time)

Active National Forests Involved

ALB has not been found in any national
forests to date but infestations are within
150 miles of some national forests.

Base Annual Budget

$ 100,000



Traps deployed in Worcester, MA, have successfully captured adult ALB each year, mostly virgin females before they can mate and reproduce.  This has demonstrated the trap’s effectiveness and provided information to improve the traps.  Although the traps are not intended to kill the beetles, they help scientists and land managers prioritize where to focus additional visual inspection efforts.  The traps have led managers to lingering infested trees in areas already surveyed and to new hot spots in unsurveyed areas.  Trapping provides a cost-effective, efficient means to guide surveys to infested trees within large geographic areas.  The trap can provide information about the presence of beetles (but not their relative abundance) within 350 ft and is used in delimiting surveys, checking quality control after removal of infested trees, and potentially for early detection around high-risk sites.   


Results of the studies in Massachusetts and New York have led to plans by other states and agencies to deploy the traps in other quarantine and high-risk areas.  The success of the traps has also led to additional funding to support continued trapping efforts.  

Lessons Learned

The development of the traps for Asian Longhorned Beetle is a good example of a strong partnership focused on a specific problem.  Together scientists and managers progressed from discovering a new invasive species, to better understanding the organism, to developing and deploying tools for detection.  All this effort will ultimately help managers to control and if possible eradicate this insect.   

Partner Organizations

Last Modified: July 31, 2019