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Contact: Rhonda Santos, (508) 852-8044 Rhonda.J.Santos@aphis.APHIS.gov
Suzanne Bond (301) 851-4070 Suzanne.M.Bond@aphis.usda.gov
Help Worcester County Eliminate the Asian Longhorned Beetle APHIS Seeks Public Help in Maintaining An Effective Quarantine
WASHINGTON, Oct. 17, 2016—The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today is reminding the public of the state and federal regulations to ensure the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) does not spread to other areas from the quarantine in Worcester County, Mass. Regulations that restrict the movement of woody material, such as firewood, reduce the likelihood of spreading the tree-killing pest.
“Preventing the spread of the Asian longhorned beetle to areas outside of the quarantine is critical to eliminating the beetle from Massachusetts, and this cannot be done without the help of property owners and business owners in the state,” said APHIS ALB Eradication Project Manager Ryan Vazquez. “Recently, we have seen tree material move outside the regulated area, and that is why we are reminding the public to adhere to the regulations, especially when stocking up on firewood for the winter.”
ALB regulatory officers conduct surveillance within and around the regulated area to enforce the quarantine, and fines may be assessed if individuals and businesses do not comply with the regulations. There are three things that people can do immediately to comply with the regulations.
The Massachusetts Department of Conservation (DCR) and APHIS work together to operate the ALB eradication program. Currently, 110 square miles are regulated for ALB in Worcester County. Regulated areas include all of Worcester, West Boylston, Boylston, and Shrewsbury, as well as part of Holden and Auburn. The beetle was successfully eradicated from Boston in 2014.
ALB is a serious insect pest of certain hardwood tree species, with the potential to cause significant economic and environmental impacts if allowed to establish and spread throughout the United States. For more information about the Asian longhorned beetle, please visit www.aphis.APHIS.gov or www.asianlonghornedbeetle.com or call the ALB toll free hotline at 1-866-702-9938.