PEI

Volunteers help track a major forest pest, the budworm

Twenty-five volunteers across P.E.I. are trapping and collecting spruce budworm moths this summer as part of the budworm tracker program.

'I would be really surprised if when we look at the traps in P.E.I., we didn't see this sort of influx'

This photo was taken from mass moth migration in Campbellton, N.B. ( Joris Wiersinga, Forest Protection Ltd)

Twenty-five volunteers across P.E.I. are trapping and collecting spruce budworm moths this summer as part of the budworm tracker program.

Four-hundred volunteers across eastern Canada and in Maine collect the information and samples during flight season in July and August. Each day volunteers collect the moths, then put them in the freezer before sending them along to scientists.

The budworm, which attacks spruce and fir trees and is the major pest of forests in eastern Canada, cycles every 30 or 35 years, and scientists believe we are in the early stages of the next outbreak.

Dr. Rob Johns, a forest insect ecologist with the Canadian Forest Service in Fredericton, N.B., and the lead of the project, said there was a recent mass migration of the budworm in the Campbellton, N.B., area and information from volunteers showed echoes as far east as Shediac.

A photo taken during a mass budworm moth migration in Campbellton this summer. (Joris Wiersinga, Forest Protection Ltd)

An 'influx' of moths

"I would be really surprised if when we look at the traps in Prince Edward Island, we didn't see this sort of influx of moths there. Most of what you see there in these traps are basically migrants coming from elsewhere," said Johns.

I would be really surprised if when we look at the traps in Prince Edward Island, we didn't see this sort of influx of moths there.- Dr. Rob Johns

"The question still remains, though, that even though we find these moths in southern New Brunswick or potentially Prince Edward Island, it is not a sure thing that that necessarily means there is going to be budworm there actively feeding in the subsequent year." 

The information gathered by the program determines where the highest densities of moths are in the region and whether something needs to be done to manage them.

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