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Beetle prevention examined

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Shrewsbury – Residents in Shrewsbury are being asked to carefully and periodically examine their trees for signs of Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) infestation, now that the pest has been spotted in two locations in the town. Earlier this month, officials confirmed the latest beetle findings and said the trees infested with the pest are on Chamberlain Road and Sewall Drive. But while trees that have already been infested must be removed, tree experts said there are options for prevention that property owners can consider if they want to make an ef- fort to keep the beetles at bay.

USDA officials have been working to eradicate the beetle, which has caused tens of thousands of trees to be destroyed in Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. Eff orts include both tree removal in certain quarantined areas, as well as a preventative treatment on trees in other areas where infestation has not yet occurred. According to Shrewsbury Town Manager Dan Morgado, a prevention-treatment eff ort has been going on in an established zone that includes parts of Worcester and a small part of Shrewsbury near route 70.

“The treatment they are using is not something people can buy over the counter,” he noted. “It’s not something the average person can just walk into Home Depot and get for themselves.”

The treatment USDA officials are using is an injected medicament that is manufactured by Arborjet, a Massachusetts-based plant-health products maker. It contains an insecticide with the active ingredient, imidacloprid, which is approved for use within the Asian longhorn beetle treatment program. Imidacloprid is applied through either tree trunk or soil injections under USDA supervision. Trunk injections are applied directly into the trunk of the tree. Soil injections are applied directly into the soil around the base of the tree. With both methods of injection, the insecticide moves through the vascular system of the tree, upward into stems, twigs, and foliage. The intent of the injection treatments is to deliver the active ingredient of the pesticide to active tree-growth areas, where the beetle would be expected to feed and lay eggs.

These “injections” are only being applied in USDA-designated areas, Morgado said. USDA officials would advise the town if the treatment should be expanded into other areas of Shrewsbury. But at this time, he was not aware of any plans to treat any other tracts of land.

Residents living outside the treatment area can hire private tree and landscape servicers and pay for preventative care themselves, if they are concerned about infestation. Boston Tree Preservation, a tree-service company in Woburn, uses the Arborjet injection product to treat trees. Company president Pete Wild said the average cost per tree is between $50 and $100 each, with many variables, including tree size, influencing the cost.

“We consider stem injection to be an eco-friendly approach as compared to spraying chemicals in the environment,” Wild said.

Wild said injection treatment can only be done during spring and fall months, and property owners interested in the treatment cannot have injections performed until summer is over.

It’s important to note that at this time, official s wit h th e Asian longhorned beetle cooperative eradication eff ort in Worcester are not making specific product or treatment recommendations to home or business owners. The only recommendation is regular inspection, along with allowing officials access to property if a tree has been determined to be at risk, according to spokesperson Rhonda Santos. Santos said another important preventative step that goes beyond just Asian longhorn beetles is to keep firewood local. Transporting firewood to areas outside of where it is harvested can introduce invasive species, including the ALB and others, to more trees that might otherwise be safe from infestation.

More information about the Asian longhorn beetle is available at www.beetlebusters.org.

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=7612

Posted by on Jul 30 2010. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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