STERLING, Mass. — There’s no sign that the destructive Asian longhorned beetle has expanded its range past the central Massachusetts communities where it’s already hit. But federal officials want to be sure.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture tells the Telegram & Gazette that they set traps along a reservoir in Sterling and Clinton to detect if the beetle is on the move. She says the traps are hung in areas with dense populations of the trees the beetles attack.

The New Hampshire maple syrup industry is particularly concerned the beetles will travel north and ruin their business.

The beetles, native to China, kill trees by tunneling through them. More than 29,000 trees in the Worcester area have been removed since the insect was first detected there in 2008.

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