Press Releases


DEM Seeks Volunteers to Help With Tree Surveys to Look for Signs of Asian Longhorned Beetle

Training Sessions to Be Held in June and July; Tree Surveys to be held in August in Arcadia Management Area, Goddard Memorial State Park, and on Conservation Land in Cumberland

PROVIDENCE - Through a cooperative effort with the USDA and Animal Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS), the Department of Environmental Management in August will conduct tree surveys in Exeter, Warwick and Cumberland for the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB). ALB is an invasive insect that came to the United States in wooden shipping crates from China and Korea more than 17 years ago. It affects hardwood shade trees such as maple, ash, birch, willow and elm by boring into the core of the tree and eventually killing it. This beetle has the potential of wiping out thousands of the state's trees if it goes undetected.

The ALB surveys will take place on Thursday, August 1 at Browning Mill Pond in Arcadia Management Area in Exeter; and Tuesday, August 20 at Goddard Memorial State Park in Warwick. A third survey will take place in August on conservation land in Cumberland; arrangements for that survey are still being developed. Surveys will be conducted from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Survey participants will be easily identifiable, dressed in brightly-colored "ALB Survey" shirts and will be inspecting the top portion of hardwood trees using binoculars. They will be looking for signs of ALB, such as egg-laying sites and exit holes.

"Train the Trainer" Sessions for Volunteers Set for June and July

It is imperative to prevent the spread of these insects to Rhode Island, or detect them early enough so that they can be dealt with before they become a major problem. To address these concerns, DEM's Division of Agriculture is scheduling two "Train the Trainer" sessions this summer for the general public. Attendees will learn the signs, symptoms, and how to survey for the Asian Longhorned Beetle and the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). The sessions will consist of handouts, displays, a presentation, and a brief outdoor survey of nearby trees. The trained volunteers will also have the opportunity to assist DEM in conducting tree surveys in August to scan high risk areas for the pests. Additional information on the visual surveys will be presented at the training sessions.

The first "Train the Trainer" session is scheduled for Wednesday, June 26 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Jesse M. Smith Memorial Library at 100 Tinkham Lane in Harrisville. Those interested in attending should RSVP by June 25 to Cynthia Kwolek at DEM via email at or contact her at 949-1770. The second "Train the Trainer" session for volunteers will be held on Tuesday, July 23 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Exeter Public Library, 773 Ten Rod Road. Those interested in attending should RSVP by July 22 to or contact her at 949-1770. All are encouraged to attend and learn what they can do to protect Rhode Island's trees from these invasive pests.

Tree-eating, non-native insects can be transported in firewood, with the potential to cause damage costing millions of dollars in clean-up, eradication, and replanting efforts. In fact, the issue of invasive species is one of the US Forest Service's top four threats. Detection of the EAB, another exotic invasive insect that attacks Ash trees, was recently discovered in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The financial impact from invasive species infestations in the United States has been estimated at $138 billion per year in total economic damages and associated control costs.

Rhode Island residents are encouraged to become familiar with the signs and symptoms of ALB and EAB. The Department is asking the public, in addition to nurserymen, commercial pesticide applicators, arborists and other tree health specialists, to notify DEM if they observe any insects resembling the ALB or see symptoms or damage related to this beetle in Rhode Island.

The ALB is large, ranging from 0.75 - 1.25 inches in length with very long black and white antennae. The body is glossy black with irregular white spots. The distinctive antennae that give the beetle its common name are as long as the body itself in females, and almost twice the body length in males. Adult ALB emerge from late spring to early fall and feed on tree bark and tender twigs. During its larval stage, the ALB bores deep in the tree's heartwood, where it feeds on the tree's nutrients. This tunneling damages and eventually kills the tree. The adult ALB then chews its way out of the tree the next summer, leaving perfectly round exit holes that are approximately 1 cm (3/8") in diameter.

Signs of ALB infestation include perfectly round, dime-sized exit holes; frass, a sawdust-like material comprised of tree shaving and insect waste; and oozing sap. Dead and dying tree limbs or branches and yellowing leaves in areas where there has been no drought may also be a sign of ALB. Research indicates this beetle can survive and reproduce in most sections of the country where suitable host trees exist.

ALB typically does not spread quickly on its own, but it can easily be inadvertently transported in untreated firewood and other forest products. All Rhode Island residents are reminded to purchase firewood from local sources and not transport firewood from out of state. Firewood brought into Rhode Island from infested areas can easily bring along unwanted hitch hikers like ALB and other harmful forest pests.

Public Can Report Suspect ALB Sightings Online on DEM Website

DEM has an online reporting form on its website for the public to use to report sightings of the ALB or Emerald Ash Borer. Developed by, this reporting mechanism asks for the user's valid email address and then sends an email with a link to the reporting form. The user then submits their contact information and a description of the pest. will send the collected information to DEM on a regular basis to assist with the ongoing ALB detection program. The form is available on the DEM website,, by clicking on "Report Asian Longhorned Beetle" under Timely Topics on the DEM homepage.

In addition to the online reporting mechanism, residents may also call a USDA APHIS manned toll-free ALB hotline at 866-702-9938 to report any possible sightings of ALB. For further information, contact Cindy Kwolek at 949-1770 or via email at Information on ALB is also available on the DEM website at

Related links

  • Department or agency: Department of Environmental Management
  • Online:
  • Release date: 06-17-2013

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