By Joan Goodchild, Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – The area regulated for infestation of the Asian Long-Horned Beetle (ALB) in Worcester County has been expanded to include all of Shrewsbury after eight infested trees on Bryant Avenue were discovered by officials with the Massachusetts ALB cooperative eradication program.
The regulated area will now be 110 square miles, up from 98 square miles, and includes the entire town of Shrewsbury. Previously, only a portion of Shrewsbury was affected. Other infested areas include Worcester and portions of Holden, West Boylston, Boylston and Auburn. So far, eradication teams have identified 46 infested trees in Shrewsbury. Over 18,000 infested trees have been identified in Worcester since the pest was first discovered in the region in 2008.
The beetle, an invasive insect that destroys trees, originally came to the United States concealed in solid wood packing material; pallets and crates used to transport goods from overseas. Since it was first discovered in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1996, the beetle has caused tens of thousands of trees to be destroyed in Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.
A public meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Shrewsbury Town Hall, 100 Maple St., Shrewsbury. State and federal officials will provide town residents with information about the recent expansion and will answer questions.
Eradication experts ask residents in the ALB region to refrain from moving firewood and wood debris outside the regulated area. 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.
Report suspected Asian Long-Horned Beetles to 1-866‐702‐9938 or online at www.BeetleBusters.info.