Help Worcester County Eliminate the Asian Longhorned Beetle APHIS Seeks Public Help in Maintaining An Effective Quarantine

Help Worcester County Eliminate the Asian Longhorned Beetle APHIS Seeks Public Help in Maintaining An Effective Quarantine

Contact:
Rhonda Santos, (508) 852-8044
Rhonda.J.Santos@aphis.APHIS.gov

Suzanne Bond (301) 851-4070
Suzanne.M.Bond@aphis.usda.gov

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.

  1. Enter into a compliance agreement if you are a business or individual working with trees or related products, such as firewood, within the regulated area of Worcester County.  Compliance agreements are obtained by attending a 45 minute training session. There is no charge for the training or the compliance agreement.  To register for an ALB compliance training session in Massachusetts, please call (508) 852-8110 or email ALBWorcester@aphis.usda.gov.
  2. If you have a compliance agreement, you can use the eradication program’s disposal yard to dispose of ALB host material that is too large to be chipped on site, such as stumps.  ALB-host material is firewood, green lumber and other material living, dead, cut, or fallen, and debris of half an inch or more in diameter from the following tree types: maple, horse chestnut, mimosa, birch, katsura, ash, golden rain tree, sycamore, poplar, willow, mountain ash, and elm.  The disposal yard is located at intersection of Ararat Street and Route 190 in Worcester and is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.
  3. Buy or gather your firewood locally, and make purchases from a reputable dealer.  Firewood suppliers should be aware of ALB regulations and the required compliance agreements.  If you buy firewood inside the regulated area, please use it within the regulated area.

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. 


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