Spray targets 80,000 hectares of N.B. forest as spruce budworm makes inroads
Program that just wrapped up focused on northern forests most threatened by budworm
New Brunswick has just finished spraying more than 80,000 hectares of forest against the spruce budworm, the dreaded insect that infests the province every 30 years or so.
In recent weeks, the spray program focused on the north, where the spruce budworm continues to make its way from Quebec.
Since then, scientists agree, the insect has gained ground in the province, with hot spots showing up around Campbellton, Dalhousie, Balmoral, Charlo and just west of Bathurst.
It was from the Charlo airport in the past month that a dozen planes took off every day at the crack of dawn to fly over forests with loads of insecticide.
Each plane carried between 1,500 and 2,000 litres of BTK, a biological insecticide that targets the spruce budworm.
A controversial spray program during the infestations of the 1970s and 80s was aimed at New Brunswick forests at large and ended up spraying chemicals on more than half of them.
But now, with GPS technology and surveys of forests done beforehand, the spraying is more targeted.
A team of 30 people worked at the base in Charlo, including pilots, controllers and engineers.
With files from Radio-Canada