The Dedham Community Theatre will host a showing of “Lurking in the Trees,” a film about the impact of the Asian longhorned beetle, on Saturday, Aug. 14.
The presentation hosted by state Representative Paul McMurtry, a Dedham Democrat who owns the movie theater, documents the potential devastation the invasive beetle can have on a community.
The screening is free and open to all interested residents beginning at 10 a.m.; the theater is located at 580 High St.
Officials from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, US Department of Agriculture, The Nature Conservancy, and other organizations will lead a conversation on the issue after the show.
“In light of the recent discovery of Asian longhorned beetles" in several trees on the Faulkner Hospital grounds in Jamaica Plain, "there needs to be a proactive approach to sharing this vital information with the community,” said McMurtry
“The only way to prevent infestation is through education and citizen involvement. This could be perhaps the most important hour spent of the summer -- our natural environment depends on it.”
The pest was discovered in a half-dozen trees at the Faulkner, and then in Shrewsbury. Two years ago, an infestation in Worcester led to the destruction of 25,000 trees.
Dedham officials have begun an inventory of the town's street trees, specimens at the Endicott Estate, at town libraries, and in other public areas.
"Lurking in the Trees'' is a 30-minute documentary film production of The Hamburger Co., sponsored by The US Department of Agriculture, Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, The US Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, The Continental Dialogue on Non-Native Forest Insects and Diseases, and the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment.
According to the Conservancy, roughly 76,000 shipping containers enter the United States each day with the potential to be carrying an invasive pest or pathogen with no known predator. Invaders of the past include Dutch elm disease, the emerald ash borer, and white pine blister rust.
Over two decades, the Asian longhorned beetle, originally from China, was discovered in Chicago, New York, and central New Jersey, but the infestations were caught early, and contained.
Worcester was another story, with the bugs spreading through trees for at least 12 years before being accidently discovered in 2008 when one fell into the lap of a resident, who reported it to authorities.
For more information on the Dedham event, call McMurtry's assistant, Bobby Rinn, at 617-722-2460, or e-mail him at Robert.Rinn@hou.state.ma.us.
Michele Morgan Bolton can be reached at email@example.com.