Greetings from Boston! I landed here last weekend after a week in Provincetown, then going right to work in Boston. Going from late-night carousing on Commercial Street to early-morning frenzied incident response was quite a shocker. But I slept in this morning and caught up on some rest.

I haven’t really been able to go out much in Boston due to long days and being tired by the end of it. And technically I’m out in the suburbs of Boston working on response to the detection of an invasive (exotic) beetle that was discovered here, and the mass transit options are scarce this far out. But since only about 6 infested trees have been found in this area, and much of the work has been done to respond to it already, it hasn’t been as hectic as I expected.

Yesterday I went to Worcester, MA to an area heavily affected by this insect. The guy shown below is holding a sample bark chip from a tree limb. If you look closely you can see a hole in the bark where an adult Asian longhorned beetle has emerged from the tree. The tree was being destroyed after it was discovered it was infested with this insect. Infestation can kill a tree in under a decade. The property owner will be offered a new tree, one that is not a favored host tree species that this insect enjoys.

It’s also been discovered in New York and New Jersey. It seems to be entering the U.S. in the wood used for packing and shipping material. Mass infestation can radically alter the urban treescape, and threatens the lumber and maple syrup industry.

I’ve learned of an interesting municipal entity called a ‘Tree Warden,’ unique to this region. It’s sort of like a cross between a ranger and arborist, and gives credit to the ranger/warden classes in D&D! The position dates back to the Revolutionary War where people were assigned to guard large trees where American rebel groups would plot against the British (from what I gather – I could be off on a few points here).

The people of Boston have been interesting. Thick local accents are difficult to understand at first, and a friend described its populace as being “beige” in demeanor. On certain online resources where one can meet local gays, they regularly seek “masc jocks” or “regular guys.” This is somewhat similar to the fixation on the “masc/musc/mil” set by the gays in DC.

And they ain’t kidding about this region being thickly Irish. I like the look, but Irishness is thrown in your face wherever you go. I mean, what if my people were all up in your face about being Scandinavian all the time?
Viking assault ship
Oh, right. Velkommen, everyone!

I managed to snag a couple of tickets to the Scissor Sisters concert in Boston tonight, which is apparently followed by a big gay party, according to the tree technician gelfling lesbian I have befriended on this trip. I have tomorrow off and may try to get back into the city to see some sights. I work Monday then return to DC on Tuesday. Thankfully, I am missing the protests and gatherings by the ridiculous Beckerheads & Palindrones this weekend. It will be good to return home to a quieter and cooler DC.

2 Comments

  1. Phil says:

    “Beckerheads and Palindrones” :-)

  2. Jim says:

    Chicago also had a serious Asian Longhorn Beetle infestation. We were declared “ALB Free” in April 2008. I have a mug to prove it!