Beetle risk prompts firewood ban at Kouchibouguac
Campers heading into Kouchibouguac National Park will no longer be allowed to bring in their own firewood because there's a risk the wood could be harbouring tree-destroying brown spruce longhorn beetles.
Staff at Kouchibouguac National Park in eastern New Brunswick are taking steps to ensure there are no invasive beetles brought into the park.
The beetle first arrived in Halifax in the 1990s and since then it has moved to other parts of Nova Scotia.
The first brown spruce longhorn beetle was discovered last year in New Brunswick at Kouchibouguac National Park, and staff suspects the beetle came from firewood.
Eric Tremblay, a scientist in the national park, said this year staff are making sure no more of the nasty critters get into the park by banning campers from bringing in their own firewood.
"The brown spruce longhorn beetle — being already in Kouchibouguac National Park — we have to use the due diligence approach and prevent any importation of firewood within the park," Tremblay said.
Tremblay said the beetles often travel on firewood brought from infested areas.
The ban on firewood begins at the end of May.
He said officials will seize any firewood brought into the park and will burn it. But he said staff will replace seized wood with logs that are considered safe.
In addition to seizing outside firewood, the park staff has set up 125 traps to catch beetles.
Last year, there were only five beetle traps in the park.
The pheromone-baited traps, developed by the Canadian Forest Service, attract and trap the beetles enabling scientists to get a good estimation of beetle numbers in a given area.
Tremblay said the beetle can destroy large tracts of white and red spruce, which are valuable trees for the softwood lumber industry.
He said they're taking these measures, "to protect the forest outside the park … you know it's a very important industry and we want to make sure that everything is put in place to prevent this creature from going outside the park."
Beetle eats its way across Nova Scotia
The beetle is responsible for destroying thousands of trees in Halifax's Point Pleasant Park, first confirmed in 1999. The destructive beetle has slowly spread to other areas in Nova Scotia.
The pest wasn't found anywhere else in North America until last year when it showed up in New Brunswick's Kouchibouguac National Park.
The beetles are native to Northern and Central Europe and are suspected to have entered Halifax through wood packing material used for products imported from the pest's native range.
Trees containing brown spruce longhorn beetles have a tell-tale white, waxy sap, the result of larvae chewing soft tissue under the bark.
They cause so much internal damage to the trees that they can no longer circulate food.
Adult beetles emerge through oval holes in the bark to mate and lay eggs.