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Rhonda Santos, (508) 852-8044
Suzanne Bond, (301) 851-4070
USDA Sets Boundaries of Asian Longhorned Beetle Infestation in Worcester County Massachusetts
Washington, Sept. 30, 2014 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), together with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, today announced the completion of surveys to determine the area boundaries of the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) infestation in central Massachusetts.
“Since the beetle was first found in Worcester in 2008, one of the program’s top priorities has been to identify the boundaries of the infestation to prevent the spread of the pest,” said Josie Ryan, APHIS’ National Operations Manager for the ALB Eradication Program. “Now that these initial surveys are complete and we have defined the boundary of the infestation, we can better target our efforts to eliminate the beetle from the area.”
With the boundary surveys complete, APHIS and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) confirmed that the boundary of the ALB infestation in Worcester County is contained within the existing 110-square mile regulated area. The central Massachusetts regulated area includes all of the City of Worcester, West Boylston, Boylston, Shrewsbury and a portion of the towns of Holden and Auburn. Proactive additional surveys were conducted in the bordering towns of Sterling, Northborough, Westborough, and Millbury to confirm that the beetle is not outside the known infestation.
Specially trained federal, state and contracted ground survey crews and tree climbers conducted the surveys and will continue to survey until the program is confident the beetle has been eradicated.
Infested trees continue to be removed throughout the year as they are detected. To date, 23,785 infested trees and 10,512 high-risk host trees have been removed from within the Worcester County regulated area. The program will continue to evaluate the use of tree removals from high-risk areas and the use of pesticide treatment applications as part of the integrated approach to achieving eradication.
The program continues to monitor the regulated area, respond to service calls, and conduct training sessions for compliance agreements. Compliance training is available for businesses and individuals who perform work that would result in the movement or transport of wood materials in the regulated area. To register, call The Massachusetts ALB Cooperative Eradication Program at 508-852-8110.
The program also continues to develop methods such as pheromone traps, regulatory treatments for wood and nursery stock, looking at chip size and grinding techniques to deregulate host material, and assessing the use of pesticide treatments in the fall. Research also continues, including analysis to determine how fast the insect spreads on its own, evaluating host trees to determine the beetle’s preference and range, and DNA analysis and behavioral experiments.
Citizens are encouraged to inspect their trees for signs of damage caused by the insect and report any suspicious findings. Firewood and other regulated articles are currently prohibited from leaving the regulated area. For more information about the beetle and program activities, please visit www.aphis.usda.gov or www.AsianLonghornedBeetle.com or call the Massachusetts ALB Eradication Program directly at 508-852-8090.
APHIS’ eradication partners in Massachusetts include the U.S. Forest Service, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, the City of Worcester, the towns of Holden, West Boylston, Boylston, Shrewsbury and Auburn, the City of Boston, and the Town of Brookline.
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