(Washington, D.C., Wednesday, August 5, 2020) – August is “Tree Check Month,” the peak time of year to spot the Asian longhorned beetle as it emerges from inside trees, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is urging the public to look for and report signs to them. The beetle attacks 12 types of hardwood trees, and is one of a group of invasive pests and plant diseases that costs the U.S. an estimated $40 billion in losses to trees, plants and crops each year.
Checking trees for the beetle and the damage it creates is one way homeowners can protect their own trees and help USDA’s efforts to eliminate this beetle from the United States. The sooner beetles are found and reported, the fewer trees become infested. Infested trees do not recover and eventually die, becoming safety hazards since branches can drop and trees can fall over, especially during storms. People can unknowingly spread Asian longhorned beetles by moving untreated firewood, since they can hide inside wood.
Samantha Simon, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Executive Director of Emergency and Domestic Programs, discusses the damage that Asian longhorned beetles are causing in your state and tips to keep them from spreading. She explains the distinctive signs that make the beetles easy to spot in trees, how to report them to local USDA authorities, and what else listeners can do to help stop this beetle and other invasive pests.
Samantha Simon is the Executive Director for Emergency and Domestic Programs within the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Plant Protection and Quarantine. She is responsible for Emergency and Domestic Programs, which safeguard U.S. agriculture and natural resources against the entry, establishment, and spread of economically and environmentally significant pests, and facilitates the safe trade of agricultural products. She serves as a resource to internal and external partners and stakeholders to accomplish key initiatives designed to eliminate the risks that invasive species pose to America’s agriculture, forests and grasslands. Ms. Simon also serves as the USDA Senior Invasive Species Coordinator, working collaboratively with numerous USDA Agencies and other Federal Departments.