The news report I have attached below concerns me! We have seen so much damage to our environment over the past decade from a variety of aquatic and terrestrial invasive species. To give but one example, as a child I vividly remember the damage that the invasive Dutch Elm Disease caused at our cottage. It not only killed all the Elm trees that lined the river valleys but it also indirectly caused river bank erosion and flooding when these trees died, fell into the rivers and caused log jams at river bends. As an adult, I have often wondered if the reason for the decline in my luck in trout fishing as I got older had a direct correlation to the Dutch Elm Disease and damage it caused to the river ecosystem.
In Richmond Hill at the moment, we are dealing with, and spending a lot of money on, mitigating the damage caused by the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive species. Ash trees that were weakened and then subsequently damaged in the ice storm in December may have been more seriously impacted due to the prior infestation of this beetle in many of our Ash trees. As a result of the ice storm and the infestation, we have lost, and will continue to lose a number of Ash trees and consequently neighbourhoods in our community will be permanently changed.
I believe we have learned a lot over the past few years about how to deal with the invasive Emerald Ash Borer as best as possible, but I am concerned that there are many other invasive species threatening our Town. As serious as the Emerald Ash Borer is, an outbreak of the Asian Long Horned Beetle could be much worse, since this particular beetle will attack a variety of tree species.
One of the tree species that this beetle can target is Maple trees. I can’t begin to imagine what our Town and province would look like with fewer, or no Maple trees. I thought that we had the initial outbreak of the Asian Long Horned Beetle, that was centered in Vaughan around 2003 contained, but apparently not.
I am concerned that we are not paying enough attention to the serious issue of invasive species – the consequences are big!
Oakville to aggressively monitor invasive Asian Long-horned Beetle
InsideHalton.com, August 6, 2014
Oakville is ramping up its already aggressive monitoring of invasive insects by installing traps in the east end of town to catch the pesky Asian Long-horned Beetle (ALBH) if it moves into the area.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed the presence of the ALBH in an industrial area near Mississauga’s Pearson International Airport last September.
There have been no reports of the beetle being found in Oakville.
The Town hopes the hanging of 10 small traps, which don’t pose a threat to humans or animals, will allow them to detect any early signs of the ALBH and stay a step ahead of population movements.
“The early detection, when you find an insect in the earliest stage, saves you tens of thousands of dollars if not millions because you can contain, you can eliminate and that is what we are trying to achieve,” said Jalil Hashemi, supervisor of forest protection at the Town.
The ALBH is known to inhabit and damage broadleaf trees such as maple, birch, elm, poplar and willow.
The installation of ALBH traps is part of the Town’s broader urban forest monitoring program that includes a bi-annual survey of gypsy moth larvae, and a continued focus on combating the pesky emerald ash borer (EAB).
The Town started hanging green prism traps in 2010 in municipally-owned trees to monitor EAB infestation levels and prioritize the implementation of its “aggressive” management program.
Currently, there are 80 of prisms that are coated in a sticky material to trap the EAB.
Both the EAB and ALHB traps are checked every few weeks by the Town’s consultant, BioForest Technologies Inc.
The Town spent approximately $2.6 million last year on the treatment and removal of ash trees, as well as community awareness. Currently, approximately 75 per cent of ash trees are treated with a bio-insecticide known as TreeAzin.
Hashemi said one of their objectives of EAB monitoring is to determine the effectiveness of the long-term program in fending of infestation.
“We want to see the boundaries and the population changes over time due to our efforts of treating and removal,” he said. “We want to know how our program, the way we are spending money to preserve canopy cover, how this is going to be translated to the bug population in different areas of the town.”
The other monitoring project being conducted in Oakville is a gypsy moth eggs survey – completed in the fall and winter after the insects have laid their larvae.
The survey is used to help forecast population levels for the following year.
And while the gypsy moth population is low to moderate this year, the larvae remain a concern because of their tendency to feed on the leaves of oak trees.
The Town estimates during its larval stage, one gypsy moth can consume an average of one square-metre of foliage.
In addition to the Town’s strategies, the CFIA has created an ALBH simulation site in Bronte’s Berta Point Park at the corner of Lakeshore Road and West River Street.
A willow tree has been marked to show the damage created by the ALBH, and in coming weeks, a sign will be erected to educate residents and Town staff to help in identifying the insect’s presence.
“Early detection in dealing with any invasive insects is the most important step,” Hashemi said. “We are most aggressive because we believe in planning ahead and then acting upon the plan, rather than going without information and doing things without thinking about what we are doing.”
For more information on the Town’s invasive species program and other urban forestry initiatives, visit www.oakville.ca, or email [email protected]