Too late to stop the budworm spruce

News 20 July, 2017
  • Courtesy
    A new outbreak of the budworm spruce budworm wreaked havoc in Quebec.

    Alix Villeneuve, special collaboration

    Thursday, 20 July 2017 17:33

    Thursday, 20 July 2017 17:36

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    RIMOUSKI | federal government scientists believe that it is probably too late to counteract the spread of the budworm spruce budworm in Quebec and that it is necessary to prepare for a major epidemic.

    The progression of the insect, which may cause the death of thousands of conifers in the forests of the Bas-Saint-Laurent, Gaspésie, Côte-Nord, Abitibi and the Saguenay river is spectacular and even visible on the weather radar, which capture thousands of butterflies in migration.

    According to the researcher at natural Resources Canada Christian Hébert, Quebec would wait too long before intervening, while New Brunswick is more prevention by applying pesticides when the province realizes that there are insects at a location.

    “In Quebec, it is expected that nature will eventually take action. But, in New Brunswick, we want to avoid to reach the stage of damage. They are, therefore, a control of the population. As soon as the populations increase to somewhere, they intervene,” said Mr. Hébert.

    Too late

    Scientists are trying to establish techniques to slow the progression of the fruit, but admit that it may already be too late to prevent an infestation comparable to that which occurred in the early 1990s.

    This is the SOPFIM, the Society for the protection of forests against insects and diseases, which makes the application of insecticides by airplane to Quebec, but it only covers a little less than 5 % of the forest area infested.

    Photo Alix Villeneuve

    A trap hormones has disoriented males and prevented the reproduction, but this technique cannot be used on a large scale.

    The migration in question

    Johanne Delisle, researcher at natural Resources Canada, has attempted to delay the progression of the fruit through the traps to hormones that désorientaient the male moths and preventing them from reproducing.

    It is managed to protect certain areas of any natural reproduction.

    However, his study raises the migration of butterflies between the regions have led to the failure of this initiative, which would be too expensive to be used on a large scale.

    The budworm can form a true cloud, carrying with it large quantities of eggs. The regions that were initially controlled by the traps hormonal have finally been infested.

    The team of scientists ensures that, despite everything, they are better equipped to fight this invading forest. Each new outbreak brings a lot of studies that will be used to combat the following.

    “In 1975, no one spoke not even of migration because we did not know where they came from !” we said Christian Hébert.