British Columbia

Vancouver limits plant disposal in attempt to stop spread of Japanese beetle

The City of Vancouver is opening a temporary transfer station for green waste to help eradicate an invasive pest known to destroy agricultural crops, orchards and vegetable gardens.

Invasive bug known to destroy agricultural crops, vegetable gardens

The invasive Japanese beetle was found in the False Creek area in 2017.

The City of Vancouver is opening a temporary transfer station for green waste to help eradicate an invasive pest known to destroy agricultural crops, orchards and vegetable gardens.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is restricting plant material and soil from being moved outside a regulated area that includes False Creek and downtown, in order to prevent the Japanese beetle population from spreading.

It means residents cannot move rooted plants and soil away from the area and must use the transfer station for all green waste disposal. Above-ground plants also cannot be moved outside the area until Oct. 15, as summer is the season adult beetles fly.

Anyone who breaks the rules will be fined by the CFIA.

The Japanese beetle feeds on the flowers, fruit and leaves of more than 300 plant species. It was first identified in B.C. two years ago in Vancouver's False Creek area, where the transfer station is located.

Howard Normann, director of parks for Vancouver, says the beetle is a real threat to a variety of plants. 

"It has the potential to do a lot of damage. And not just to the trees you see here, but to other crops around the Lower Mainland," he said in April. "They will basically strip the foliage off a plant pretty quickly."

Since the beetle was discovered, the City of Vancouver along with the province and the federal government have worked together on measures to prevent its spread.

They've sprayed larvicide to kill the grubs, trapped adults, restricted the movement of plants and soil and have asked people to report sightings.

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