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Are You In Compliance?

Any individual or commercial business that works handling woody tree material in Worcester, Boylston, West Boylston, Shrewsbury, Holden, or Auburn needs to go through annual compliance training to ensure they know about Asian longhorned beetle (ALB).  ALB is an invasive wood-boring insect from Asia that was discovered in Worcester in 2008. Woody material, including branches, tree stumps, and firewood, is a primary vector for this pest because humans can spread ALB around when they move infested wood. Because of this, it is critical that companies such as tree removal services, nurseries, and landscapers know how to identify the beetle and its damage, how to handle woody material, and how to dispose of material in compliance with state and federal regulations.

Training participants look over some of the handout materials

Compliance training is led by an employee of the ALB Cooperative Eradication Program , a Worcester-based program that includes staff from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). The 45-60 minute sessions are available for companies to send their employees at no cost. A range of topics are discussed, including the biology and life cycle of ALB, the history of the infestation in the Greater Worcester Area, details on the Regulated Area (the area where surveyors look for infested trees and from where woody material can’t be removed, ALB eradication plans and progress, and regulatory compliance. During the training, attendees are able to examine beetle specimens in different life stages as well as samples of tree damage. Participants receive licensing and vehicle stickers to prove that they’ve completed the training.

Display showing Asian longhorned beetles in different life stages, and types of ALB tree damage

The ALB regulated area currently covers 110 square miles. Because resources are limited and there are only so many surveyors available, it is critical that groups who work with wood are trained in ways to detect and report signs of ALB. As the trainer noted, “It may take us up to two years to get back to inspect a tree, so that’s why we need you.” Reports from green industry professionals and residents have resulted in several new finds of ALB, so the more people are aware of ALB and how to identify it, the better.

The training contains a lot of very valuable information that is critical for anyone doing tree work in the Regulated Area. To sign you or your company up for a free training session, call 508-852-8110. To anyone in the Regulated Area looking to hire someone to do work on their property, a list of all businesses up to date on their compliance training can be found here.

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