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Department of Agriculture Waging War on Tree-Killing Beetles
August 18, 2009
Contact: Karen Coluzzi
Maine’s Department of Agriculture promoting vigilance to ward off invasive Asian longhorned beetle.
AUGUSTA—The Maine Department of Agriculture has received a $75,000 grant from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to conduct an outreach and survey program for Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), an invasive insect not yet found in Maine, but one already responsible for the destruction of more than 25,000 trees in Massachusetts. The program, currently underway, is focused on informing the general public about ALB and how to recognize and report it.
Since August is the month the beetles are most active, two major educational events are planned, one in Portland, on August 27, and one in Bangor, on September 3, where host trees in these communities will be surveyed for signs and symptoms of an ALB infestation. Other events are planned for smaller communities. The program’s focus is primarily on neighborhoods adjacent to industrial parks, as well as coastal campgrounds and state parks, where out-of-state visitors may be unintentionally carrying infested firewood into the state.
“Most infestations are spotted by homeowners in live trees or woodpiles. Early detection is our best defense to keep this pest at bay,” says entomologist and State Survey Coordinator, Karen Coluzzi.
“What is most extraordinary,” adds State Horticulturist Ann Gibbs, “is the number of state and government agencies that are part of this awareness campaign.” Eight other states have also received USDA funding to implement similar programs.
For additional information about the events, or with questions about ALB, please contact Karen Coluzzi at 207-287-7551.
For media inquiries, contact Trish Altieri at Briggs Advertising, 207-443-2067.
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