Six infested trees in Jamaica Plain removed this morning represent first confirmed Massachusetts presence of ALB outside Worcester County
BOSTON – Following the discovery of Asian longhorned beetles (ALB) in six trees in Jamaica Plain this past weekend, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Ian Bowles, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Commissioner Richard K. Sullivan Jr. and other federal, state, and local officials today announced plans to further investigate the source and extent of the infestation, and scheduled meetings to inform local residents and businesses about the effort.
“We understand that news of the ALB presence in Boston will be a concern to the community, and we are working as quickly as possible to determine the extent of the issue,” said EEA Secretary Bowles. “So far, only six infected trees have been found here, and they were destroyed this morning. We have a highly trained and skilled team with experience in the eradication efforts in Worcester, and the situation is in good hands.”
Over the weekend, federal officials from the US Department of Agriculture\’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the presence of the invasive beetles in six trees on the grounds of Faulkner Hospital in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood. Early this morning, they removed those trees and ground them into chips to kill any adult beetles or larvae. The six infested trees in Jamaica Plain represent the first confirmed ALB presence in Massachusetts outside Worcester County, where the invasive species was discovered in August 2008.
The ALB is believed to have come to the United States in wooden packing crates originating from China several years ago. The beetles bore into the heartwood of a host tree, eventually killing the tree. The beetles have no known predators in this country.
Since their discovery in Worcester in 2008, $50 million in federal and state money has been spent to eradicate the beetle, and 25,000 infested trees in the Worcester area have been cut down in an effort to halt the spread.
“We are engaging all our partners, including the US Department of Agriculture, city of Boston, town of Brookline, and other municipalities and agencies to educate the public on the ALB and solicit their help in reporting and dealing with it,” said DCR Commissioner Sullivan. “We have set up a community meeting next week for the public, and a training session this week for anyone involved in the wood and wood products industry to answer questions and keep everyone apprised of procedures and progress in the infested area.”
The community meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 13, from 6-8 p.m. in the Franklin Park Clubhouse on Circuit Drive in Franklin Park.
An education session for those involved in the wood and wood products industries will be Thursday, July 8, from 1:30-4:30 p.m. in the Franklin Park Clubhouse on Circuit Drive in Franklin Park.
“While we are hopeful this is an isolated and contained incident, the City of Boston considers this issue to be very serious and we are taking every step to protect our trees by pulling together city, state, and federal resources,” said Mayor Menino. “After last year’s incident in Worcester, hundreds of volunteers were trained to survey trees. Together with professional arborists, we have been proactive in searching for the ALB in major areas like the Arboretum. These areas will again be searched by the US Department of Agriculture and, combined with a community meeting and training session scheduled for this week, I am confident in our plan to handle this incident in an efficient manner.”
DCR officials already have declared a regulated area around the site where the infested trees were found. The area extends in a 1.5-mile radius from the site. No wood or wood products are allowed to leave that area. (A map of the area is attached with this press release and also can be viewed at http://www.mass.gov/dcr.)
For property owners clearing limbs or other wood debris from their yards and properties, and anyone else wanting to dispose of wood, a drop-off area will be set up within the regulated area. The location and any additional details will be posted on http://www.mass.gov/agr/alb.htm as soon as a location is determined.
To report suspicious tree damage, view photographs and videos of tree damage, or read about the Asian longhorned beetle, visit http://www.mass.gov/agr/alb.htm or call the toll-free Asian longhorned beetle hotline at 866-702-9938.
The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), an agency of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, oversees 450,000 acres of parks and forests, beaches, bike trails, watersheds, dams, and parkways. Led by Commissioner Richard K. Sullivan Jr., the agency’s mission is to protect, promote, and enhance our common wealth of natural, cultural, and recreational resources. To learn more about DCR, our facilities, and our programs, please visit www.mass.gov/dcr. Contact us at email@example.com.