Rhonda Santos (508) 852-8044
Suzanne Bond (301) 734-5175
WASHINGTON, July 30, 2010 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced the discovery of a tree infested with Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) found on the regulated area boundary line in West Boylston, Mass. Due to this find, APHIS will expand the current Worcester county regulated area by 2-square miles. The federal and state quarantine zone for the area will now be 76-square miles (up from 74-square miles) as a result of the detection.
Inspectors working for the Massachusetts ALB cooperative eradication program responded to a call from a Boylston Light Department employee who was working on a tree just over the Boylston town line. The employee reported finding an ALB on the tree and collecting the specimen. Program inspectors confirmed the beetle to be an Asian longhorned beetle, and examined the suspicious tree located on Route 140. The tree was confirmed to be positive for ALB damage.
“This find is not surprising considering the tree is in close proximity to previously detected infested trees south and west of its location,” said Christine Markham, national program director of APHIS' Asian longhorned beetle eradication program. “The miles added to the existing quarantine area will help to prevent the movement of wood to areas known not to be infested with the pest, and we will continue to work with our state and local partners to survey for ALB and restrict the movement of regulated material to prevent the spread of ALB.”
The infested tree will be removed as part of ALB eradication efforts, and infested trees will continue to be removed as they are detected. Public and private trees will be marked for removal, with public trees featuring an additional mounted placard at least seven days before the removal takes place.
ALB was first discovered in Massachusetts in 2008, and the regulated area currently includes the city of Worcester and the town of West Boylston, as well as portions of the towns of Holden, Boylston and Shrewsbury.
The public can assist the eradication effort by allowing program officials access to their property to evaluate susceptible trees for signs of ALB infestation, and by reporting sightings of the beetle or any signs of infestation.
To report signs or symptoms of ALB, or for answers about program activities, please call the Massachusetts ALB Cooperative Eradication Program at (508) 799-8330 or toll-free at (866) 702-9938. Reports in Massachusetts can be made via the Internet at www.BeetleBusters.info or http://massnrc.org/pests/alb.
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