Frequently Asked Questions

Asian Longhorned Beetle Program

  • Is there any way to save the tree without cutting it down?
    Unfortunately, the only method proven to be 100% effective in eradication is to cut the trees down and chip them to regulated specifications. Due to the nature and life cycle of ALB, chemical and insecticide treatments have unfortunately not proven to be effective methods of eradication. Because the larvae feed progressively deeper inside the tree’s woody layers, chemicals will not penetrate the wood all the way to the feeding chamber to target all life stages of the insect and therefore save the tree. Further, systemic insecticides also target other native insects and animals indiscriminately and cause undesired secondary effects.
  • How did the beetle get here? (Either In Charleston or the USA)
    The infestations in the United States, starting in the 1990s, are thought to have been brought in through solid wood packing material, shipping materials, and dunnage made from woody material in eastern Asia. Once the insects arrived overseas, the native North American populations of host trees have no natural resistance to the insect, and therefore succumb to infestations. ALB can easily spread by human-facilitated movement such as firewood, storm debris (e.g., broken tree limbs), and common tree work/landscaping activities. Unknowingly transporting infested wood poses the greatest risk for spread in our area.
  • What is being done here in Charleston?
    There is a large-scale eradication effort being carried out by Clemson University’s Department of Plant Industry (DPI) and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) have cooperatively formed the South Carolina Asian Longorned Beetle Eradication Program, headquartered in Hollywood, SC. Program operations are currently ongoing in the Hollywood/Ravenel/John’s Island, SC area. Facets of the program include survey and detection of properties for presence of infested trees, eventual removal of those infested trees, and eventual re-survey to verify successful eradication. Further, there are State and Federal Quarantines established around the infestation, and Program staff monitor the regulated area and work closely with local tree work and landscape organizations to prevent movement of regulated woody material that threatens to spread the infestation.
  • Which trees will the Asian longhorned beetle attack?
    The list of known host genera includes: Acer (maple), Aesculus (horse chestnut), Albizia (mimosa), Betula (birch), Cercidiphyllum (katsura), Fraxinus (ash), Koelreuteria (golden rain tree), Platanus (sycamore), Populus (poplar), Salix (willow), Sorbus (mountain ash), and Ulmus (elm). It is important to note that Asian longhorned beetle does not infest pine trees or oak trees.
  • What should I do if I find ALB damage on my trees or the beetle itself?
    If you suspect you found either an adult beetle or an infested tree, please report it online using the reporting tool or by emailing Make sure to include clear photos of the beetle and/or tree damage using something for scale, such as a coin or ruler. If you can, capture the beetle in a jar or plastic bag and place it in the freezer to preserve the insect for identification.
  • How long has Asian longhorned beetle been in South Carolina?
    It is difficult to know for certain exactly how long this beetle has been infesting the trees of South Carolina, however we know it has been present in the area since at least 2012 due to dendrocronology work performed by researchers, where they use tree rings to accurately date signs of infestation in trees that have been cut down.
  • Is Asian longhorned beetle the only one of its kind in South Carolina?
    Though Asian longhorned beetle is the only invasive longhorned (Cerambycid) beetle known to be in the state, there are many other native longhorned beetles as well as some other naturally occurring look-a-likes. The key to identifying ALB from other insects is its long body size at 1-1.5”, the black color with distinct white patches/spots, banded black and white antennae, and the striped legs with a bluish tint.

Apiary Program

Invasive Species Program

  • Why are invasive pests a problem?
    When introduced to a new environment, some organisms can explode in numbers due to a lack of natural systems keeping their population in check. New environments may also provide new hosts species that lack resistance to the introduced pest. Invasive pest infestations are often very difficult and costly to control. They alter natural ecosystems, affect trade between countries, and hinder agricultural productivity.
  • Why do we conduct invasive pest surveys?
    One way to combat a pest invasion is to detect it early and respond quickly to eradicate the infestation or restrict its spread. Pest surveys are a great tool for early detection. We target specific host plants and pest pathways in hopes to identify an infestation before it becomes widely established. 
  • How do we decide which invasive pests to survey the state for?
    Clemson DPI hosts an annual Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS) Committee meeting where multiple agencies and industry representatives discuss current or emerging plant pest issues. The CAPS Committee advises DPI on which pests to target with surveys. Additionally, USDA APHIS PPQ maintains a Pests of National Concern list. Pests on this list have been determined to pose serious threat to the environment, crops, and/or trade. Surveys funded by USDA APHIS grants, require the inclusion of listed Pests of National Concern.
  • How do we decide to make additions to the state plant pest list?
    Input and suggestions from South Carolinians are taken under consideration. Specifically, a legislatively appointed Invasive Species Advisory Committee containing members from academia, state agencies, and industry consider new additions and submit any recommendations to Clemson University’s Director of Regulatory Services.
  • What happens if a regulated pests is detected?
    Response to pest detections vary. Depending on the pest and other relevant factors, tools such as monitoring, quarantines, treatments, or host plant destruction are available. Almost always, additional surveys to delimit the extent of a pest infestation is in order.

Nursery Grower and Dealer Program

Plant Pest Diagnostic Clinic (PPDC)

  • How do I submit samples to the PPDC?
    Samples can be submitted through local county extension offices where Extension Agents may be able to diagnose the problem free of charge. Find a list of all county offices at this link: If a visual diagnosis isn’t possible, the office can provide a form and will mail the sample to the Clinic for you. However, clients may submit samples directly to the Clinic if desired. Forms and submission guidelines are available on the right-hand side of our website at . In order to submit a sample that is sufficient to diagnose the problem, please scroll down the page and read the sampling guideline that is relevant to the type of sample you wish to submit.  The guidelines also direct clients on how to package samples to preserve and protect them from contamination and decay. After reading the guidelines, take the sample. If it can’t be submitted immediately, keep it in a refrigerator or a cool room. Select and print the form that represents the type of sample you are submitting and fill it out completely. The mailing address is on the form. Avoid mailing samples late in the week to prevent delayed arrival.
  • Can the PPDC advise me on how to grow vegetables and ornamentals, or take care of lawns?
    Diagnosticians at the PPDC do have horticultural knowledge but are more familiar with identifying and managing diseases and insect pests. Call your County Extension Office (access the statewide offices here: ) or call the Clemson University Home and Garden Information Center (HGIC) at 888-656-9988.  The HGIC website at also has wealth of information on gardening topics.
  • Does the PPDC run soil nutrient analysis tests?
    No, the Clemson University Agricultural Service Lab (ASL) is the lab to use for soil analysis. Results provide nutrient content and pH. Their analysis also includes fertilizer and lime recommendations, based on the results. For information on soil sampling and all the other types of tests run by this lab go to
  • Does the PPDC test plants for herbicide damage?
    No, we do not have the equipment to run these types of tests. When we receive a sample with suspected herbicide damage, we can often provide a suspected diagnosis based on a visual assessment of the damage, but this cannot be considered a confirmed diagnosis. We also consider the extent and pattern of damage, whether unrelated plants are also affected and, of course, the types of herbicides used. Because this information is important, forms should be filled out completely and names of herbicides used should be included, if known. Samples submitted for herbicide damage assessment will be examined to detect diseases and insect damage that might have caused the symptoms. If malicious or mistaken herbicide damage is suspected and must be confirmed by analysis, contact your local Department of Pesticide Regulation Inspector. See this website to find the Inspector for your area:
  • Does the PPDC test soil for pathogens?
    The Clinic only tests for two soil-borne pathogens – Phytophthora species, which cause root rots of a wide variety of plants and Thielaviopsis basicola, which causes black root rot of pansies, several other herbaceous crops and Japanese hollies. If root rot is suspected, collect a handful of fine feeder roots plus a few larger ones of at least ¼ inch. Pack the roots in a small amount of moist soil in a plastic bag.
  • Does the PPDC test for virus diseases of plants?
    Yes, the Clinic keeps a limited number of lateral flow virus testing kits in stock. Because there are many virus diseases, we cannot afford to buy kits for them all, so we only stock tests for viruses that we most commonly see. For economically important samples, we can assess which virus diseases would be most probable and send symptomatic tissue to a commercial firm for testing. Their more expensive fees would be required for this type of test.
  • Can the PPDC identify biting or stinging insects?
    Yes. Large stinging insects, such as wasps, should be placed in a vial or small bottle filled with ethanol or rubbing alcohol. Insects, such as ticks or lice, removed from humans or pets are considered a biohazard since they may contain blood. Because of this, these samples must be submitted in a small vial filled with alcohol. Several insects of one type can be placed in a vial, but different types should be submitted in separate vials and a separate form and fee will be required. If a client suspects human parasites are present but finds no actual insects, he/she should visit a dermatologist and if insects are found, they can be submitted as described above.
  • Can the PPDC determine if a tick sample is infected with a virus that can be transmitted to humans?
    No. Clinic Entomologists can identify ticks and will know if the specimen is a species that could carry a virus, but they cannot determine if that specific tick is infected. Ticks must be submitted in vials of alcohol, as described above.
  • Can the PPDC identify mushrooms?
    Diagnosticians can usually identify mushroom-forming fungi that infect trees and can recognize fairy-ring type mushrooms if given enough information, but knowledge of other non-pathogenic mushrooms is limited. Dr. Julia Kerrigan, Mycologist with the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, has offered to identify mushrooms from digital photos. Her email address is . If soft mushrooms are submitted to the Clinic, they should be enclosed in paper bags and shipped with expedited delivery.
  • Can the PPDC identify household molds?
    No, we do not have the expertise to identify molds. When molds develop in a structure, this is indicative of a moisture problem, so identifying the source of the moisture and fixing it will prevent mold development.
  • I am a lavender grower and I’d like to have my plants tested for Phytophthora root rot and other diseases. Does the Clinic offer such services?
    Yes, we can isolate and identify Phytophthora species from lavender plants and from soil. If plants are declining in the field, select some that are dying, yet not dead, and carefully dig them up. Place the root ball in a plastic bag and fasten the bag around the lower stem. This will keep the roots fresh and prevent contamination of the foliage and stems with soil. Several small plants can be submitted as one sample, but if diagnoses are wanted for individual plants, separate forms and fees must be submitted. Many lavender growers want to screen plants before planting to make sure they are not infected before planting in the field. This is an important safeguard against losing newly installed plants and infesting soil with this destructive pathogen. Currently, Dr. Steve Jeffers has a research project studying how best to sample and test nursery- and greenhouse-grown plants before transplanting in the field. Please contact him if you are interested in this type of testing: or 864-656-7157.