The Asian Long-horned Beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) is a pest, to be sure. Originally making its way over from Korea, Japan and southern China in untreated wood packing products, the beetle has no natural predators in Canada and can kill healthy trees. The beetle attacks most hardwoods including all maples, along with elm, ash, poplars, alder, arbutus and willow trees. Infestations were first recorded in 1996 in New York State, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has the insect on its invasive quarantine list.
First discovered in the cities of Toronto and Vaughn in 2003, the CFIA and forestry officials have been attempting to manage and eradicate the beetles’ spread, primarily through complete removal of infested trees and nearby potentially affected trees. Some 30 000 trees were removed, with compensation made to private land owners. The last beetle was spotted in 2007, and no beetle has been spotted outside the regulated GTA area.
The beetle is now considered eradicated in Canada, according to press releases and a statement by Pierre Lemieux, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture, made 5 April 2013. Potentially-infected goods are now able to move freely in and around the GTA.
It will be interesting to see if this eradication holds, but it is heartening that concerted efforts and survey do pay off to control some of the many pests destroying our woodlots and urban forests. Hopefully, the Emerald Ash Borer will be next!