It has not been seen yet in the local area, but local officials are asking residents to be on the lookout for signs that the Asian longhorned beetle might be taking up residence.
The beetles “have the potential to destroy millions of acres of hardwood forests as well as residential landscape trees,” Fairfax County officials warned in a statement.
Native to China, the insect was most likely introduced into the U.S. through packing crates. Like many invasive insects, it has no natural enemies to keep its populations in control.
The beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) to date has been found in the New York City area, New Jersey, Chicago, Toronto and most recently, in Worcester, Mass. Typical host species of the beetle are boxelder, Norway maple, silver maple, red maple, sugar maple, horsechestnut, willow, American elm, birch and poplar.
Information on the beetle can be found at www.fairfaxcounty.gov. Anyone who sees the beetle, or damage possibly caused by, it is asked to call the county government’s Forest Pest Branch at (703) 324-5304.