WORCESTER (CBS) – A milestone for the City of Worcester: after three years of battling the destructive Asian Longhorn Beetle, officials say they finally have the problem under control.
“We’re by and large, not seeing the volume of trees we’ve seen in the past that re-infested. That’s a positive sign,” says City Manager Mike O’Brien.
Since the pest hitchhiked its way to Worcester on cargo imported from Asia, the city has had to remove some 29,000 infested trees. Last year, the number dipped dramatically to about 1,000.
WBZ-TV’s Christina Hager reports
“My house used to be completely shaded,” says Liz Browning, who lives on Burncoat Street, now lined with newly-planted saplings. “This summer air conditioners were on every day. My house is much hotter.”
For every tree taken down, a group of city, state, and federal employees has tried to replant a diverse array of new ones. They say they’ll still have to continue inspecting trees for at least another half-decade, and the City Manager warns people still need to be vigilant.
“One active female could start the whole process all over again,” says O’Brien.
While the situation in Worcester has improved, things are not as good east of the city. A new cluster of infested trees was recently discovered in Shrewsbury, and the rate in Boylston has held steady.