Forest industry bracing for budworm outbreak
Spruce budworm larvae has been found in the Madawaska region
New Brunswick foresters are preparing for another attack from the spruce budworm as the bug is infesting forests in Quebec.
Mark Arsenault, the president and chief executive officer of the New Brunswick Forest Products Association, said the industry is preparing for another infestation.
"We are seeing a massive outbreak in Quebec right now and it has just crossed the St. Lawrence [River] and is now into the Gaspe area. We've seen an increase of the larva count of budworm," Arsenault said.
"We've actually found larva counts in the Madawaska — northeastern part of New Brunswick — so we're very aware that there's a potential for another outbreak."
Arsenault said it is possible to spray forests in order to kill the spruce budworm.
However, he said aerial spraying is an expensive option to try and knock out the pest.
The cost of pesticides and fuel for aircrafts has gone up dramatically since the last major outbreak in the 1980s.
New Brunswick has used aerial spraying to combat the spruce budworm in the past.
At its height in 1975, the spray program against the spruce budworm covered more than half the province.
Dave MacLean, a forestry professor at the University of New Brunswick, said in February that a spruce budworm infestation could cost the industry more than $1 billion.