The Asian longhorned beetle has been eliminated in Mississauga, the Government of Canada’s Canadian Food and Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced last week.
“Today marks a major victory in a long-fought battle,” said Mayor Bonnie Crombie. “This invasive beetle devastated our tree canopy in Mississauga, but we took action to stop its spread. I’m pleased that this insect is no longer a threat to our trees or our budget. It’s a good reminder that we must remain vigilant against invasive species by protecting existing trees and planting new ones.”
The Asian longhorned beetle was brought to Canada unintentionally in infested wood crates, pallets and packing material. First identified in 2013, the beetle was found in Malton, near the Toronto Pearson International Airport. Infected trees were removed, chipped up and processed to eliminate the ability of the beetle to destroy other healthy trees.
“For almost a decade, the Asian longhorned beetle has attacked and killed healthy hardwood trees in Mississauga, including maple, willow, birch and poplar,” said Jodi Robillos, director of parks, forestry and environment. “Posing a substantial risk to our parks, green spaces and wildlife habitats, thousands of infected and susceptible trees were removed to control the spread of the Asian longhorned beetle.”
To prevent the spread, residents and businesses were restricted from moving any tree material out of the regulated area of Mississauga. Movement of infected wood material could have accidentally spread the beetle to unaffected areas.
“Invasive species have put a lot of strain on our tree canopy including the Asian longhorned beetle, which have destroyed many healthy trees,” said Brent Reid, the city’s acting manager, forestry.
“Since the Asian longhorned beetle is not native to Canada, it has no natural predators. Early detection was important so that action could be taken swiftly to eliminate the pest. Another key factor in mitigating the impacts of the Asian longhorned beetle and other invasive species is keeping our urban forest diverse and healthy.”
The beetle’s larvae fed on the trunk and branches of trees, and eventually filled the trees with holes causing the trees to die. Adult beetles fed on the leaves, bark and branch tips.
“Mississauga’s tree canopy is diverse, however it is still vulnerable to pests like the Asian longhorned beetle,” Reed said.
In 2013, the CFIA found evidence of the Asian longhorned beetle near Toronto Pearson International Airport. As a result, CFIA established a regulated area.