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USDA BEGINS CONTROL TREATMENTS IN MASSACHUSETTS AGAINST ASIAN LONGHORNED BEETLE

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

WASHINGTON, March 1, 2010--The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will treat 38,000 trees susceptible to the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) with the insecticide imidacloprid in Massachusetts this spring. Control treatments will start the week of April 19, weather permitting, within portions of the city of Worcester, as well as portions of the towns of Holden, West Boylston, Boylston and Shrewsbury.

Program officials, through the use of contracted certified pesticide applicators, will treat ALB host trees by using hand-held application devices, which inject the insecticide directly into the trunk of the tree, allowing the imidacloprid to be dispersed through the tree's vascular system. The insecticide reaches any adult ALB in the area feeding on small twigs and leaves, and any larvae feeding just beneath the bark of treated host trees.

Program officials will be contacting property owners within the designated treatment areas to obtain a signed treatment release prior to the use of control treatments. Control treatments are a vital component of the area-wide eradication strategies. APHIS encourages the support of property owners to authorize the treatment of host trees. Securing treatment releases will maximum the effectiveness of control treatments.

Imidacloprid is a registered pesticide under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). It is used in agriculture, the lawn care industry to kill lawn grubs, and in some pet treatments to kill fleas. Approved for ALB program use, the insecticide has proven to reduce beetle populations in research completed in the United States and China. It is currently used in the New York ALB eradication program and has been used as part of the ALB eradication activities in New Jersey and Illinois. Imidacloprid is applied each year for ALB eradication to a limited area in the United States. APHIS oversees treatment applications and conducts environmental monitoring as part of the ALB eradication program.

ALB threatens urban and suburban trees, as well as valued forest resources, and threatens such industries as maple syrup production, hardwood lumber processing, nurseries and tourism. Control treatments are part of the ALB cooperative eradication program's effort to prevent further infestation of this invasive insect and reduce populations.

APHIS and its cooperators undertake eradication by imposing quarantines, conducting visual inspections, removing infested trees and chemically treating non-infested host trees as part of an integrated eradication strategy. The goal is to eliminate ALB 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 ALB infestation.

For treatment maps, review the ALB Web site at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/
plant_pest_info/asian_lhb/index.shtml and select “ Quarantine and Treatment Maps” within the maps section.

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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