FITCHBURG, Mass. — The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) announced Tuesday that a small population of the invasive spotted lanternfly has been found in the City of Fitchburg, close to where a lanternfly nymph was reported earlier this summer.
Agricultural inspectors are in the middle of performing surveys in the area, but currently the infestation is limited to a single cluster of three trees. While MDAR has not been able to determine the origin of the infestation, spotted lanternflies have been known to travel out of infested states on cars, trucks, and trains, during shipments of produce, sheds, and gazebos, trees and shrubs for landscaping, and many other items that are regularly sent from states with known infestations.
As a result of this new find, MDAR is urging the public to be on the lookout for the pest, especially residents that live or work in the Fitchburg area. Spotted lanternflies may be found on sides of buildings, in or on vehicles, and on their preferred host plants: tree of heaven, grape vines, and maple and walnut trees. Anyone who has recently received goods or materials from states where SLF is known to have been introduced (including Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia) should also be on the lookout.
"The spotted lanternfly can have devastating impacts on Massachusetts' agricultural industry, including on a number of farms and orchards in this part of the state that we want to protect from this pest," said MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux. "Early detection and reporting is the best way to slow the spread of spotted lanternfly. Members of the public, particularly those in the Fitchburg area, have seen this pest, they are asked to report it as soon as possible."
If residents find anything suspicious, they are asked to take a photo or collect the specimen, and report the sighting using MDAR's online reporting form. Residents should look for both adult insects (large, gray bugs, about one inch long, with black spots and red underwings) and egg masses (inch-long, rectangular masses, yellowish-brown, and covered with a gray waxy coating). The egg masses may be found on any flat surface.
Spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula, "SLF") is an invasive sap-feeding insect from Asia that was first found in the United States in 2014 in Pennsylvania. While the main host plant of this pest is tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima), spotted lanternfly attacks many different trees, shrubs, and vines, and has the potential to impact a broad range of agricultural commodities, including apples, peaches, grapes/wine, hops/beer, maple syrup, and ornamental plants. While individual spotted lanternflies have been found in several different parts of the state over the past several years, this is the first evidence that Massachusetts has a breeding population.
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Lenco Donates Rescue Vehicle to Berkshire Rescue Team
By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
Lenco Vice President Lenny Light, left, BMSAR President Michael Comeau and Lenco design engineer Brian Sears, a BMSAR volunteer.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Lenco Armored Vehicles has donated a $20,000 utility terrain rescue vehicle to the volunteer Berkshire Mountain Search and Rescue team after reading of their fundraising efforts on iBerkshires.com.
Team President Michael Comeau said the Polaris UTV will be a huge game-changer for BMSAR, as it will drastically increase the efficiency and the response time to extricate a person from wooded or mountainous terrain and get them to safety.
"All of the team is saying the same thing: 'This is going to so much increase our capabilities for getting to someone, getting equipment to scenes, getting a patient out of the woods or wherever they're in danger," he said.
"And so the membership was really excited to have this."
The four-wheel-drive vehicle features two rows of seats to fit the team members and has an insert in the back that secures a stretcher with a seat for a medic next to it. It also has a light bar for increased visibility and a hook in the front of the vehicle for towing in cases of heavy terrain.
Team President Michael Comeau said the Polaris UTV will be a huge game-changer for BMSAR, as it will drastically increase the efficiency and the response time to remove a person from wooded or mountainous terrain and get them to safety.
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In total, Pittsfield is receiving almost $41 million in ARPA funds that have to be obligated by the end of 2024 and the funds spent by 2026. The first deposit of about $20 million is already in the city’s account.
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William Cameron, Mark Brazeau, Vicky Smith, Alison McGee, Sara Hathaway, Daniel Elias, and William Tyer covered a number of topics ranging from staff wages and building improvements to Taconic High School's mascot change and the recent superintendent selection process.
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The six-term representative said the people of the Berkshire district deserve a dedicated advocate in the Senate. He cited the devastation that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on its communities and small businesses and how it widened the divide between the wealthy and those struggling to put food on... click for more