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USDA Begins FINAL SurveyS to Determine Eradication of Asian Longhorned Beetle FROM BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS

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Contact:
Rhonda Santos, (508) 852-8044
rhonda.j.santos@aphis.usda.gov
Lyndsay Cole, (970) 494-7410
lyndsay.m.cole@aphis.usda.gov

USDA Begins Final Surveys to Determine Eradication of Asian Longhorned Beetle from Boston, Massachusetts

Washington, June 10, 2013 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced that it has begun its final visual surveys to determine whether Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) has been effectively eradicated from Boston, Mass. 

APHIS and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) are conducting final visual surveys of ALB host trees within the regulated area of Norfolk and Suffolk Counties.  Currently, survey inspectors are working in the Boston neighborhoods of Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury, and they will be in the town of Brookline in the coming weeks.  Surveys are expected to conclude in early 2014.  Final inspection surveys will confirm the eradication of the beetle from the area.  Once confirmed, APHIS and its cooperators will lift federal and state regulations.

The beetle was discovered in Boston in July 2010.  Within Norfolk and Suffolk Counties, 10-square miles are regulated to control the pest, which includes the neighborhoods of Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, Roxbury, West Roxbury, and a portion of the town of Brookline. 

To date, USDA and its partners have removed six infested trees from one property and have conducted multiple inspection surveys of more than 90,000 host trees. By the end of this month, the eradication program will complete its third and final cycle of chemical treatment applications on 2,000 host trees.  The program began using chemical treatment applications in June 2011 and conducted them again in June 2012. 

APHIS and its cooperators undertake eradication by imposing quarantines, conducting regulatory inspections, surveying host trees by using both ground and aerial visual survey methods, removing infested and high-risk host trees, and chemically treating host trees – all are part of an area-wide integrated eradication strategy.

The eradication program will host a public meeting for community members to learn more and speak with managers of the eradication effort.  The public meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 18 from 6:00‐8:00 p.m. at the Franklin Park Clubhouse, located at 1 Circuit Drive, Dorchester, MA 02121.  To get specific information about eradication program activities, community members may also call the eradication program office directly at (508) 852-8090.

Members of the public are encouraged to inspect their trees for signs of damage caused by the insect and report any suspicious findings. The sooner an infestation is reported, the sooner efforts can be made to quickly contain and isolate an area from future destruction. People are encouraged to be mindful of moving firewood, as moving ALB-infested firewood can unintentionally spread the pest.  For more information, please visit http://www.aphis.usda.gov or www.asianlonghornedbeetle.com.

APHIS’ eradication partners in Massachusetts include USDA’s 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.

USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as USDA implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act. USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.

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Note to Reporters:  USDA news releases, program announcements and media advisories are available on the Internet and through Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds.  Go to the APHIS news release page at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom and click on the RSS feed link.
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