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Spotting the Asian Long-Horned Beetle

By: Shannon Hegy

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (abc40) — It’s less than two inches long, but this small pest can cause big damage.

The Asian Long-Horned Beetle is the reason 25,000 trees have been cut down in Worcester.  Now one group is doing everything it can to stop the same thing from happening in Springfield.

“It’s always been reported by the public, not by somebody from the state or federal government doing a formal survey so it’s really important for the public to keep an eye out for this pest,” said Jennifer Forman-Orth from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources.

In addition to surveying the Sumner Avenue neighborhood of the city Saturday afternoon, the Department of Agricultural Resources also trained community volunteers, showing them what the damage caused by the beetle looks like and what trees it attacks.

“I think the more people who know what to look for, the more chance of picking it up early.  I think that’s the point of the training we did today,” said volunteer Tom Eisenman.

To get the word out, the group also handed out information cards to the public.  The cards show an accurate picture of the beetle, the hole it makes in a tree and the number to call if you suspect you see one.

“It’s great that we’re having people stop in their cars, come out of their houses, wondering what we’re doing,” said city forester Edward Casey.

“I didn’t realize that they make such holes in trees,” said Ruth Moorhouse after she received a card.  “I’m gonna go home and look at my trees.  I have a lot of trees in my yard.”

In addition to Worcester, the Asian Long-Horned Beetle has damaged trees in Chicago, New York and New Jersey.  So far, it has not been reported in Western Massachusetts.  However, Representatives from the Department of Agriculture fear it could be spread through wood transport, which is why they’re asking the public to be especially vigilant.

To learn more about the Asian Long-Horned Beetle and how to spot it, visit:

 http://www.massnrc.org/PESTS/alb/

 


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