Arnold Arboretum accepts recommended treatment for Asian Longhorned Beetle

by Jon Hetman, Director of External Relations & Communications
May 1, 2011

Arnold Arboretum accepts recommended treatment for Asian Longhorned Beetle

The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University has accepted the treatment regimen recommended by the USDA designed to diminish the chances of an infestation of Asian Longhorned Beetle in the Arboretum’s world-renowned collection of woody plants.

On Monday, July 5, 2010 officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) had been found in six red maple trees on the grounds of Faulkner Hospital, located adjacent to the Arboretum’s western border. The six maples were immediately removed and destroyed. A 1.5-mile quarantine zone was instated around the discovery site to search for further signs of this tree-destroying pest and to control the movement of host plant material within the zone. At this time, no additional infested trees have been found in the quarantine zone.

The USDA has recommended that an insecticide treatment be applied to all ALB-host trees within one-quarter mile of Faulkner Hospital. The active ingredient in the treatment insecticide is imidacloprid, which USDA scientists have demonstrated to be an effective control method in containing the spread of ALB in infested areas.

After receiving the recommendation of the ALB treatment regimen from the USDA, the Arnold Arboretum hosted a meeting with USDA National ALB Program Director Christine Markham and her colleagues to discuss the plan with staff from the Arboretum, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, Department of Agricultural Resources, and the Boston Parks and Recreation Department. The group reviewed the USDA’s experience with ALB infestations in New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Worcester, MA, where approximately 30,000 trees have been removed to date. After thoughtfully considering the latest scientific findings on the application, efficacy, and impacts of imidacloprid treatments, the Arboretum decided to accept the USDA’s recommended treatment plan. USDA-funded injections of imidacloprid will be carried out by a contracted pesticide applicator in spring/summer 2011 for host trees in the Arboretum’s collection that lie within the one-quarter-mile treatment zone.

Wherever permitted by the product label, soil injection will be the preferred delivery method of imidacloprid for trees in the Arnold Arboretum’s collections. In terms of plant health, we believe that soil injection represents the least stressful method of delivery to individual trees. This type of treatment has been successfully used with other major public collections of trees, including New York’s Central Park.

The Arnold Arboretum is responsible for the care and preservation of more than 15,000 living plants—one of the largest and best documented woody plant collections in the world. Many of these trees are representatives of rare and endangered species and as such, are essentially irreplaceable. Should any of the Arboretum’s trees become infested with ALB, it is required by law that those trees immediately be removed and destroyed. Preventive measures provide a proactive means to curb the spread of this highly destructive and invasive pest and the subsequent loss of trees. As stewards of an extraordinary living collection, the Arboretum has accepted the treatment regimen recommended by the USDA to aid in the eradication of ALB and to help preserve the Arboretum’s collection for the enjoyment of the public and to facilitate world-class research, horticulture, and education programs in support of its mission.


Rhonda Santos, Public Information Officer
USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Legislative and Public Affairs
National Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) Eradication Program
151 West Boylston Drive, Worcester, MA 01606
Phone: 508.852.8044

Lauren Marshall, Public Information Officer
Harvard University Public Affairs and Communications
1350 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: 617.384.7926

Additional Information:

USDA ALB Cooperative Eradication Program Information for Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk Counties

USDA ALB press releases and information

USDA ALB pest and plant health information

USDA ALB informational website

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