Things that scare me…

There are plenty of things that scare me; heights, bats (but only if they are inside a building), and student loan officers to name just a few. Last week however I encounter something that was truly terrifying.

It wasn’t very big, maybe only 20mm from front to back. Holding it you wouldn’t know it was in your hand, it was that light. You could easily walk past a swarm of them without ever really noticing. One of our staff had found, what appeared to be, an Asian Long Horn Beetle.

Bark Lake Beetle
Is this a normal forest beetle or a destructive invasive pest?

The Asian Long Horn (ALH) is an invasive species that wreak havoc on the forest ecosystem. Invested trees become weak and eventually die. They have no natural predators in Ontario.

Being the tech-savvy guy that I am I immediately hit the internet to track down information. I initially checked the Ministry of Natural Resources’ website and found a contact number. The gentleman on the other side of the phone was able to provide me with some basic information he told me that the lead outfit dealing with ALH wasn’t the Ministry, but it was rather the Canada Food Inspection Agency.

Another quick google-a-thon and I was in contact with the CFIA. Phones were called, descriptions were described, and contact info was left.

And then I waited…

On Monday (23 June), in the late afternoon, I received a call. One of the folks working on ALH wanted me to describe the beetle in better detail; did I see a metallic shine, did I see white dots on its back, was there a single white dot where the wing cover met the neck?

At the end of our conversation she asked me to email her a photo just to be certain.

The interim verdict: White-spotted Sawyer. I’m still waiting for confirmation from CFIA.

This scare reminded me of how important it is to protect our forests. Here is some good tips on how you can help prevent the spread of Asian Long Horn Beetle:

  • Do not move fire wood from one location to another. The larva can travel inside the wood spreading the pest to new areas, even a couple of kilometers is too far. (ALH may have arrived in North America by hitching a ride in wooden pallets from overseas)
  • Report any suspected Asian Long Horns to the Canada Food Inspection Agency. Even if you are not sure, report anyway.
  • Read this info sheet on ALH.


~ Joe


Got an email back from the Food Inspection folks.  Everything is good.  Our little beetle friend is indeed a white spotted sawyer!



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