Mastro is Center Director of the Otis Plant Protections
Center on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Mastro holds an
Associate's degree and a Bachelor of Science in Forestry,
In 1973, he received his Master's in Entomology from
Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.
has long been involved in the century-long endeavor
to stave off gypsy moth damage in the United States.
He also researches survey and control of the Asian gypsy
moth, the Asian longhorned beetle, the Japanese beetle
and more than twenty other exotic insect species that
threaten native plants and trees. Mastro's responsibilities
include pest exclusion technology, pest survey and monitoring
and risk mitigation.
member of the Entomological Society of America since
1972, Mastro belongs to an array of professional societies
and is also the recipient of numerous honors and awards
in his field. In 1998, he and his colleagues were awarded
the USDA Group Award for Excellence for their work with
the Asian longhorned beetle.
links to this scientist's home page and other related infomation
please see our resources
Are alien species posing a threat to many native species
around the world(in general)? Also, what is the most common
method of controlling the balance between alien species
and native species, are there any side effects? Thank
you very much-Casey
species are being transported all over the world and
they threaten natural ecosystems and mans' activities.
The first method used to try to mitigate the impacts
of exotic species is to exclude them through quarantine
regulations and procedures. Although these efforts do
have a positive impact, they are not entirely successful.
When an exotic does slip through, early detection of
it, before the population becomes large and spreads,
sometimes allows elimination or eradication efforts
to succeed. Once an alien becomes established and it
has ecological and economic impacts, a management program
is initiated and a wide variety of tools are employed
to minimize its impacts. These include classical biological
control, manipulation of the habitat, the use of pesticides,
and other tactics. When combined to form a comprehensive
program, this is usually called Integrated Pest Management
mentioned on the show, yes there can be side effects
of any of the strategies involved. In formulation of
an IPM program, these potential side effects are considered
and you attempt to minimize them.
I live in Townsend, Massachusetts, and this beetle, the
longhorned beetle, is here. I have seen it the past few
summers, but didn't know it was bad until the show about
alien invaders. The program said that it was confined
to Chicago and New York, but as this is not the case,
I felt obligated to tell someone, so that this can be
addressed. Who should I alert?
you Brendan for your observation. I will pass your information
on to state and federal officials who will follow up
on any reports of ALB. Please contact Charlie Burnham
at 508-792-7716 x132.
Elinor K. asks:
Have any effective natural or chemical advances been made
in fighting the Asian long horn beetle? We believe that
our hemlocks have been infected with them.
recent advance in the work described on the T.V. show
that injects a systematic insecticide directly into
a tree's vascular system is effective. As the beetle
attempts to feed on the bark of small twigs or the leaves,
they are killed preventing them from infecting new trees.
Hemlocks are not host of the ALB, but may have other
exotic or native pests on them. Contact your county
agent or state extension service for a positive identification.
We live in San Antonio Texas zip 78228. I stepped on one
of these beetles that was at the base of my dying 12-
Year-old maple tree. The tree continued to die as the
year went by. One windy night, the tree fell and hit an
aluminum fence and it chattered into several pieces. The
following day we cut up the tree and found hundreds of
holes all over it. After several days we decided to dig
out the stump. We found 2 larva with black horns. We decided
to burn the stump. After it burned for a few hours, we
continued to dig out the stump. We found 2 more larva
moving about. We cut the larva with a shovel and burned
the stump again. Should someone from the USDA contact
us? Should we do anything else?
you for reporting what you found on your tree. Tips
like yours help to find new introductions of exotics
before they can reach damaging levels and before their
population becomes too large to control. Please contact
your county agent, state extension office, or local
USDA office at 512-916-5241.
Michael K. asks:
I have been splitting wood for sale in southern Oklahoma.
I swear I have found the larvae of the Asian beetle. It
really stood out when I split these dead Oak and Hickory
trees. I am a horticulturist by profession with a Landscape
Architecture degree with a turf management option. I did
not know if it mattered but the program said it was only
in one or two states. I just wanted to respond because
of the ever encroaching killer bees and fire ant problems.
The area is in Kingston Ok. on Lake Texoma. I can be reached
either by email or phone. I am quite positive that the
larvae was the critter.
concerned citizen Michael K.
you for your sharp observation. The USDA and the State's
Department of Agriculture are critically interested
in finding any other infestation of Asian longhorned
beetle. Help like your observation will enable us to
find populations when they can be controlled. Please
contact your local county agent or USDA at 405-427-9438.
Steven J. asks:
A tree across the street from me died and was cut down.
We took the wood and split it for firewood. It had large
holes inside and under the bark which could not be detected
from the outside. There were worms inside that looked
identical to the what you identified as larvae of the
Asian longhorned beetle. We should not have it killing
trees here in Collierville, TN, just outside of Memphis,
but it appears we do. Perhaps I have misidentified this
insect, but both my wife and I are relatively certain
that the insect you showed on PBS is the same as the ones
we found inside the firewood from the killed tree here
in Tennessee. Should we contact someone? We still have
the infested wood in our woodpile.
you for your interest and keen observation. You should
contact your local county agent or USDA office at 615-781-5477.
From Tony Pederson:
This past summer I was in western Oregon, and took a picture
of what looks like an Asian Longhorn Beetle. I understand
that, if that is what it is, it should not be there. Does
that area, Crater Lake National Park (specifically), have
an insect that looks similar to the ALB? I can email a
jpeg if you'd like to take a look. ~Tony P.
retain your photo and contact your local county extension
office or USDA State Plant Health Director of Oregon
Hello, I was fascinated with the segment about your
research on the gypsy moth. I have kind of a strange
moth question for you. Darn if I haven't been able to
locate the dissection manual that I read this in. I
was going to send you the article. I will see how much
I can recall from memory.
This article stated that you could grow giant grasshoppers.
Now, I am not sure if they were being liberal with the
term gaint. The article said to take about 20 to 30
dead bodies of male moths. (unspecified type) Grind
then up in a mortar and pestle with sand. Put this into
solution. (Can't remember if it was either H2o or ctoh.)
Coarsely filter the solution and then centrifuge. Draw
off the clear part of the solution and allow to evaporate.
The remaining material was said to be amber colored
and honey-like. This was said to be the moth's hormone.
It said to then paint this "hormone" onto the side of
the abdomen of a baby grasshopper. This really intrigued
me at age 12. However, I did not have access to the
equipment, and did not have much experience with the
scientific method. I am now 38. Now and then I still
wonder about that article. You seem to be one of the
very few people who could tell me if this seems plausible
in any way. Derek
Derek, I have never heard of this specific use for dead
moths. Insects do contain hormones that regulate growth,
but I don't believe that the technique your described
would allow you to transfer them from moths to grasshoppers.