Invasive Species

Eradication Nation

Originally published in American Forests Magazine, Winter 2015.What Boston’s battle with the Asian longhorned beetle can teach us about stopping an invasive pest in its tracks.

Clint McFarland didn’t want to believe the pictures he was looking at on his smartphone.

Late on a Friday afternoon in July 2010, he was at a gathering in Worcester, Mass., to recognize federal and state staff who had been working long, hard hours for two years to wrangle the city’s runaway Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) infestation, the country’s largest by far. By the time a homeowner reported it in 2008, the invasive beetles had already been boring their way across the heavily forested city in the center of the state, frighteningly close to the edge of contiguous forests that span New England and reach into Canada.

Read More

Asian Longhorned Beetle Trackers Hunt for Hitchhikers

Originally published in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Dec. 22, 2014. UXBRIDGE — In a wooded residential area off Route 122, a team of foresters and entomologists took turns looking through a scope at a small hole in the bark of a maple, maybe 55 feet up. Everyone agreed the damage came from a bird, probably a woodpecker, and not the Asian longhorned beetle.

A very good thing, since the invasive insect is not supposed to be this far beyond the infestation in Worcester.

But after six years of surveying 5 million potential host trees and removing about 34,000, the team fighting the beetle is taking a closer look at outlying areas that could be at risk of satellite infestations.

Read More