In boxes of products from China packed with wooden packing materials, a deadly hitchhiker made its way to the United States.
The Asian long-horned beetle is a large insect that eats healthy wood in living trees.
Difficult to detect deep inside healthy trees, the beetles are not easily killed. The female burrows into the tree, lays eggs and the wormlike larvae hatch out and start eating wood. After a year and a half, the larvae pupate and become adults when they will leave the tree to mate. There are no natural predators to the Asian long-horned beetle because they come from China. Insecticides have proved useless because of how deeply they burrow into the trees. So far the trees that it seems to prefer are hardwoods; maples, birch, ash and others. They have been found in New York City and Chicago. Experts estimate that they could threaten trees throughout the United States in just a few years time.
The only protection so far has been to discover infested trees, cut them down and burn them.