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Tree-Killing Beetles Found In Shrewsbury

Federal and state officials are working to eradicate Asian longhorned beetles found in Shrewsbury.

It is the first sighting of the tree-killing beetles in the town, but the infected trees are in an area quarantined after the beetle infestation of two years ago that forced the removal of 27,000 trees in neighboring Worcester.

The invasive beetle cost state taxpayers over $50 million in tree removal costs in the Worcester outbreak.

To avoid such measures this time, residents from across the state need to be vigilant, Shrewsbury Town Manager Daniel Morgado says.

"The initial infestation wasn't discovered by any government official," Morgado said. "The initial location was a resident who said, 'Hey, there's something here that I think is very odd, very different,' and pressed the case."

The Shrewsbury discovery comes after six infested trees were found and removed from the grounds of Faulkner Hospital in Jamaica Plain earlier this month. No additional beetles have been found in Boston since, officials said.

At this point, state officials are looking at plant store records and conducting genetic testing on the beetles found in Jamaica Plain to try to discover how they arrived here, Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Rick Sullivan says.

Still, the only way to eradicate the tree-killing insects is to spot them on trees they've already inhabited.

"The best defense is the public education and people looking at their trees and being on the lookout for it," Sullivan said. "And I know that sounds low-tech, but that is at the moment really the best defense."

This program aired on July 15, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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