of Middlesex County, NJ

for Immediate Release:
Contact: Dave Smela
Telephone: 732 745 3444

Invader Species Beetle Confirmed in Middlesex County

An announcement was made by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture that the Asian Longhorned Beetle, an invader species from China, has been found in Carteret Borough, Middlesex County. The find is significant because Asian Longhorned Beetles, or ALB, have caused serious tree losses in New York and Chicago. In October 2002, an area in Jersey City fell victim to the insect and more than 100 infested trees at that site were removed to eliminate the beetle.

The Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) prefers hardwood trees as victims; these trees include willows, ash, elm, but mostly maples, which are a very common landscape and street tree throughout New Jersey. The movement of firewood, tree trimmings and nursery products will be restricted within a one-mile radius of the property where the beetle was found according to Carl Schulze, Director of the NJDA's Division of Plant Industry.

Asian Longhorned Beetles have a shiny black exterior with white spots and can reach a size of ¾ to 1.5 inches long. They have unusually long antennae that are banded black and white. The beetles typically attack one tree, and migrate to others when their populations become too dense. The female beetles chew holes in the bark, where they lay their eggs. The young hatch, then burrow beneath the tree bark. After several weeks of feeding they enter the woody tissue of the tree. Once the beetle is deep inside the tree, applying pesticides does little to eradicate them and infected trees must be cut and chipped to eliminate this pest.

The ALB first appeared in the U.S. in 1996 in the Greenpoint area of Brooklyn. USDA officials believe they first entered the country inside solid wood packing material coming from China.

The most noticeable clue to an infestation is the perfectly round exit holes the beetles make as they leave a tree. Unlike the holes created by some woodpeckers, which are very small and grouped together in a straight line, these can be compared to singular bullet holes. One may also notice piles of sawdust in branch crotches or at the base of the trunk.

"The actual beetle is only visible in it's adult stage, the larval and pupae stages are spent within the tree, which makes them difficult to detect, also very resistant to any treatment attempted." says Bill Hlubik, Agricultural Agent for Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County. "We need to keep one step ahead of this invader to protect not only our landscapes but out natural areas as well."

To prevent the movement of this insect, restrictions on the movement of firewood, tree trimmings and nursery products have been instituted in a one-mile radius around the property where the beetle was found. If you are a homeowner or landscaper in the Carteret, Woodbridge area, please consult the quarantine map provided to make sure that you are not under the restrictions. Tree services in the area have been contacted by the search team and informed of the specific handling of wood products from any tree trimmed or cut down within the quarantine zone.

Anyone suspecting the presence of this beetle should contact the NJDA at 1-866-BEETLE 1 or (609) 292-5440.To get a first hand look at the beetle and what you should look for in your neighborhood, visit the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County website and click on educational videos at

Rutgers Cooperative Extension educational programs are offered to all without regard to race, religion, color, age, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.