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USDA ANNOUNCES DISCOVERY OF ASIAN LONGHORNED BEETLE INFESTATION IN BOYLSTON_ MASS_

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Contact:
Rhonda Santos (508) 799-8330
Suzanne Bond (301) 734-5175

WASHINGTON, Dec. 17, 2009--The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced the detection of three trees infested with the invasive Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) in Boylston, Mass. These trees are the first infested trees to be found in the town since ALB was discovered in Massachusetts in 2008.

APHIS inspectors surveyed these and other trees in Boylston this month as part of the agency's efforts to control and eradicate an ALB outbreak in nearby Worcester, Mass. The infested trees are located on Cook Street in Boylston and within the 74-square mile ALB quarantine zone in Massachusetts.

The trees show active signs of an ALB infestation. Two of the trees contain the perfectly round, 3/8 inch in diameter exit holes, indicating that beetles have emerged this year, and the other tree contains oviposition sites, where adult beetles laid eggs. ALB eradication program inspectors will continue to survey the infested area in Boylston.

These infested trees will not prompt changes in the 74-square mile ALB quarantine zone in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts quarantine zone currently encompasses the entire physical boundaries of the city of Worcester and the town of West Boylston, as well as portions of the towns of Boylston, Holden and Shrewsbury.

A mature ALB is about 1 to 1.5 inches long, has a shiny, jet black body with distinctive white spots and long antenna banded in black and white. The adult beetles are most evident between June and October. As developing larvae, ALB tunnel through the heartwood of various tree species during the winter months damaging the pathways that move water and nutrients throughout the tree. This tunneling ultimately kills the tree. The goal of the ALB cooperative eradication program is to eliminate this destructive insect from the United States before it can establish itself elsewhere.

The public can assist the eradication effort by allowing program officials access to their property to evaluate susceptible trees for any signs of ALB infestation and/or to treat trees that are susceptible to beetle infestation.

For information about the beetle and program activities, please contact the Massachusetts ALB program at 1-866-702-9938. Log on to www.aphis.usda.gov or http://massnrc.org/pests/alb, or visit www.beetlebusters.info for more information about ALB, including pictures and where to report a suspected beetle.

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