During its recent survey activity in Auburn last week, the ALB Eradication Program found an infested tree in the Town of Auburn, Massachusetts. The infested tree is on the Pakachoag Golf Course.
The ALB Eradication Program representatives have reached out to town administration to provide an overview of their surveying process and to review our tree pruning and disposal methods, which are in full compliance with the ALB regulations for the designated area. Experts from the ALB Program will be climbing and inspecting additional trees in the golf course over the next few weeks to determine the extent of the infestation. They are optimistic that the infestation is not widespread and that it is contained within the area of the infested tree. They will not know for sure, however, until they complete their inspections and data collection of additional trees at the golf course.
In August 2008, an Asian Longhorned Beetle infestation was found in the City of Worcester. State and Federal quarantines were established around the infested areas which restricted the intrastate movement of regulated articles, such as firewood, nursery stock, and tree material, from leaving the quarantined areas to prevent the further spread of the beetle. As more ALB-infested trees were found, the quarantined area grew to its current size of 110 square miles all within Worcester County, which includes all of Worcester, West Boylston, Boylston, Shrewsbury and a portion of the towns of Holden and Auburn. The portion of the Town of Auburn was added into the quarantine area in May 2011 due to an infested tree in Worcester in the College Hill area. No infested trees had previously been found in Auburn.
Property owners in the ALB regulated area may see employees from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation (DCR) and Recreation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and from the Davey Tree Expert Company in their neighborhoods. Survey staff have ALB program identification with them, and will show their identification if asked. Staff will try to notify homeowners before accessing properties to conduct tree inspections. The DCR and USDA and their contractor designees have authority both federally and under a DCR Order (August 8, 2008 and subsequent amendments) to go onto public and private property to control, suppress and eradicate the ALB infestation in Massachusetts. The USDA and DCR are self-insured and their sub-contractors are also insured.
It is important to note that the identification of this infested tree does not require an alteration to the boundaries of the ALB regulated area nor will it change the ALB Program activities. If additional trees are found to be infested, and if it affects the current boundaries of the designated area, the boundaries may have to be revisited. The ALB program will remove the infested tree over the next few weeks and will remove any additional infested trees if found.
Town administration will be working closely with the ALB Program director over the next couple of months as they continue their inspections. Property owners can learn more about the Asian Longhorned Beetle Eradication Program activities or report tree damage they suspect is caused by the ALB by calling 508-852-8090 or 1-866-702-9938 or going online at www.AsianLonghorndBeetle.com.