They’re back! Asian Long-horned beetle meeting Feb. 5! Be there!

By Edith Morgan

Coming home January 13, I was met by a couple of young people with flyers and clipboard in hand,  who were canvassing my neighborhood to inform all of us “abutters” about an informational meeting at the Green Hill Golf Course Club House at 6 p.m. on February 5.

The meeting is about “the scheduled tree cutting”  due to be performed in our area .

It came from the Massachusetts  ALB Cooperative Eradication Program, 151 West Boylston Drive, Worcester MA 01606 (phone number 508-852-8090).

A paragraph of legal citations from Massachusetts General laws appears to justify the use of “all lawful means of suppressing, controlling and eradicating ALB , including affixing signs to and removing or causing to be removed, and the destruction thereof all Regulated Articles within the affected area  that are, may be, or have potential to be infested or infected by ALB.  The flyer closes with a contact name and number, should we have questions or concerns about the work being done : we can contact Ford Wykoff, DCR Forester, at 508-422-6032.

Stapled to this sheet is a full-page aerial map of the area, with three areas outlined in red , called the “Management Area, Worcester Parcel.”

My home is just two houses away from the westernmost area, running along Denmark Street and Green Hill Park.

Most of us who live on this side of Worcester have already seen over the last few years the devastation the “eradication “ program has wrought on Burncoat Street, Dodge Park,  and elsewhere.

Yes, we have replanted tens of thousands of trees which will in twenty or thirty years replace the great, mature trees that were taken down.

But now the funds for that replacement program are used up, but we face another round of cutting.

Aside from the immediate destruction, which is very obvious,  several things bother me: First, I am always very nervous, to say the least, when any branch of government speaks of ERADICATING anything. As a refugee from Nazi Germany, talk of government eradication programs always perk up my ears. Second, I never got satisfactory answers to my many questions about the program in the  first place: Why did we stop the chemical applications, and was the chemical we used at first the only possible one (there was talk about its possible effect on bees, and its reaching our ground water supply.)

I am sorry to say that I have not had the time to research what has been done in other nations to curb the ALB elsewhere in the world. There have been infestations in China and Europe. Since the beetle was here at least 10 years before it was discovered, what is the great hurry to “eradicate” it immediately? Since in nature there are few species who do not have natural enemies, could control measures include propagating natural enemies?

Has any other nation found a way to isolate, control, or even reverse the effects of this creature?

Or are we doomed to repeat our experience with the Dutch Elms, and merely to wait for the next biological attack on our environment?

At least we have learned one valuable lesson; we are no longer planting “monocultures” – all one kind of tree.

While that may have been cheaper and easier in the short run, it certainly has been very costly in the long run.

Let’s think about that –and attend this February 5 meeting!