JP remains beetle-free

July 5, 2013
By

Two years after Jamaica Plain first saw Asian longhorned beetles (ALB), the neighborhood remains free of any further sightings of the tree-killing insect. If this season’s inspections turn up no further evidence of ALB by early next year, quarantine measures will be lifted.

After six infected trees were discovered at Faulkner Hospital in 2010, a quarantine area was declared for a 1.5-mile radius around the site by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The quarantine includes nearly the whole of JP and Brookline and parts of Hyde Park and Dorchester.

“Right now, survey inspectors are working in the Boston neighborhoods of Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury, and they will be in the town of Brookline in the coming weeks,” U.S. Department of Agriculture spokesperson Rhonda Santos told the Gazette.

USDA and its partners have conducted multiple inspection surveys of more than 90,000 host trees in the affected area, which includes Arnold Arboretum. By the end of this month, the eradication program will complete its third and final cycle of chemical treatment applications on 2,000 potential host trees. USDA representatives will continue to inspect trees until next year.

A community meeting was held June 18 about the status of the USDA’s eradication efforts and possible schedule for lifting restrictions if not further ALB are spotted.

Special yard-waste collection rules will apply in the restricted area for the duration. Any type of waste wood, such as fallen branches, has to be put at the curb in a separate paper leaf bag or marked barrel. Yard waste cannot be mixed with regular trash.

A site set up at the Arborway bus yard in Forest Hills for chipping the quarantined wood will remain until the restriction is lifted. It will accept woody debris by appointment only by calling the Boston regulatory office at 857-200-2380.

The ALB is a large black beetle with white spots and long antennae. Members of the public are encouraged to inspect their trees for signs of damage caused by the insect and report any suspicious findings to asianlonghornedbeetle.com.

Best of JP 2014