Lurking in the Trees is a 30 minute documentary about what happened to a community infested with an invasive tree killing insect. It is a true story of devastation, cooperation, and renewal. To learn more about the makers of the film, or to request a copy, visit About Us.
It started when a sinister-looking bug fell on someone's lap in a backyard on a summer afternoon. That chance discovery led to a terrible realization: insect-invaders from Asia were killing trees in New England, and the only way to stop the pests was to cut down and grind up over 25,000 trees. Worcester, MA could be any town in America - not too big, not too small - but it learned that, in today's world of nearly infinite international trade, an invasive pest can sneak in, become established, and wreak havoc, unless citizens are informed and vigilant.
When Donna Massie and her husband noticed that strange, black bug in their backyard, her internet search set off a chain of events that resulted in the cutting down of over 25,000 trees in Worcester, MA, and concern that the damage could spread throughout the northeast United States.
The insect was the Asian longhorned beetle, an invasive pest originating in China. The beetle likely came to the US in wood pallets contained in shipping containers, and established itself in a stand of maple trees in the industrial core of the city, perhaps 12 - 15 years ago. It's been quietly spreading, killing trees and multiplying ever since. The threat it poses to the New England forest, the maple industry, the tourism, lumber, and paper industries, the furniture industry in New England, are risks too great to contemplate.
So the people of Worcester are making a great sacrifice - cutting down and grinding up their infested trees, to protect the quality of life in the northeastern United States for generations to come. The process of removing the tress isn't easy, and it's not without controversy. But the people of Worcester are making it through. With typical New England resilience, they're starting fresh, replanting lost trees -- with appropriate diversity - and creating a new, more vibrant landscape for the future.