The invasive Asian longhorned beetle, mounted alongside the native white-spotted sawyer beetle for educational purposes. Photo by Nasuna Stuart-Ulin, Canada’s National Observer

Canada’s National Observer recently published an article featuring the Invasive Species Centre’s (ISC) hosted “pest tour” in Limerick Forest just south of Ottawa. David Dutkiewicz and Derissa Vincentini of the ISC led a small group of concerned tappers and farmers through the park, pointing out various signs of infestation and handing out wood samples.

During the tour, the attendees were shown examples of invasive forest pests and their symptoms using props such as a glass display case featuring the invasive Asian longhorned beetle, mounted alongside the native white-spotted sawyer beetle. The group also spotted a spongy moth (new common name for LDD) egg mass high up in a maple tree, which Derissa Vincentini took the opportunity to use as an example, providing information on how to remove and dispose of the egg mass. “If you spot an egg mass, scrape it into soapy water and leave it for 72 hours, then throw it out,”  Derissa Vincentini informed the group.

Find out more about egg mass scraping here or learn how to report egg masses here.

This kind of community outreach is a key part of spreading the word on invasive species and providing communities with the tools they need to spot and prevent invasive species in their area. Reporting a sighting is also key to control and prevention. During the tour, David Dutkiewicz spoke about how he answered a call from a man reporting insects emerging from a set of wooden wind chimes he’d brought back from the Dominican Republic. He told the man to seal it in a plastic bag and the insects were later identified as invasive bark beetles! These invasive insects are carriers for another invasive species, Dutch Elm Disease.

Rising temperatures caused by climate change, especially rising winter temperatures, have increased the susceptibility of Canadian forests to invasive insect pests like hemlock woolly adelgid, spotted lanternfly, and spongy moth. The article detailed the costs of spongy moth damage to Terry Hoover, owner of Hoover’s Maple Syrup, who spent thousands of dollars eliminating them after his maple trees became infested.

Terry Hoover ultimately paid a local aircraft company to spray his property with Btk insecticide, a bacterial agent toxic to LDD caterpillars. The service cost him about $100 an acre, though prices can go as high as $250. He spent $5,000 for the whole bush.

“It was a lot of money,” he muses. But it worked: this summer, the canopy was completely closed with no defoliation at all.

Total eradication of an invasive species is rarely possible but educated communities and proper forest management practices can help manage the damage. Visit the ISC’s Community Science Program page to learn more about how you can help!

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