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USDA ANNOUNCES FALL TREE RESTORATION IN MASSACHUSETTS_ - ASIAN LONGHORNED BEETLE-IMPACTED AREA

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

ASIAN LONGHORNED BEETLE-IMPACTED AREA

WASHINGTON, Nov. 5, 2009--The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced that the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) cooperative eradication program will continue to restore the tree canopy in Worcester, Mass., by planting 400 trees this fall.

APHIS and its cooperators are currently eradicating an ALB infestation in Worcester County, Mass. The program removed trees infested by ALB to prevent the further spread of this invasive pest. The replanting helps to replace those infested trees removed by the eradication program.

Homeowners will select from an array of tree species that are not vulnerable to ALB infestation such as oaks, beech and linden trees and will work with program personnel on placement of the trees on their property throughout the fall months. The number of trees each homeowner receives will be coordinated through consultation with ALB program personnel and will be determined by the terrain and soil conditions on the land, the location and species of trees already on the property and adjacent properties, and the number and size of trees removed through ALB eradication efforts.

The planting is a continuation of tree restoration that began this past spring in the areas in Massachusetts impacted by ALB. The ALB program will plant up to 800 trees within the host removal area between now and the fall of 2010. In addition, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation was recently awarded $4.487 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to help with replanting efforts in the ALB infested area of Worcester County. The money is part of $89 million allocated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to forest health protection projects.

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.

The Massachusetts ALB cooperative eradication program is comprised of USDA-APHIS, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the City of Worcester, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, the U.S. Forest Service and the towns of Holden, Boylston, West Boylston and Shrewsbury.

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

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