Japanese beetle is in Vancouver

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Public help called for to prevent spread of Japanese beetle that could damage gardens, lawns

Invasive Species Council of BC, May 24, 2018 – Vancouver, BC. To prevent the spread of invasive Japanese beetles in British Columbia, the Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC) is calling on the public to be on alert for the beetles and to support eradication efforts currently underway in Vancouver. 

“If we don’t stop it right away, the Japanese beetle could cause serious and extensive damage to gardens, lawns, golf courses, farms and the entire landscape industry,” says Gail Wallin, executive director of ISCBC. “The pest feeds on the roots, foliage and fruit of a wide variety of host plants. This is a serious risk, and we need the public to avoid moving soil, plants with soil, pruning waste and other plant debris from areas where this insect has been reported.”

Japanese beetles were first detected in BC when the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) found them in the False Creek area of Vancouver in the fall of 2017.

A coordinated response is now underway to eradicate Japanese beetle in Vancouver. The CFIA, British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture, City of Vancouver, ISCBC and the BC Landscape and Nursery Association are working together on this effort in May 2018. Their goal is to effectively contain and eradicate Japanese beetle before it causes insurmountable damage to the landscapes in Vancouver and beyond and creates economic impacts to trade and the agricultural industry. 

There is the potential that the pest may spread as adult beetles are active flyers, but their spread is generally slow since the only way they can move long distances is by hitchhiking on vehicles or plant materials and in roots with soil attached. This long-distance spread usually happens through human activities like the movement of infested plants with soil from one area to another, so ISCBC is calling on the public to be aware of the risk and avoid moving plants and soil.

The partners in the eradication efforts have agreed to treatment and restricted movement controls starting now. To treat the beetle infestation, a larvicide will be applied to ground level turf grass areas that targets root-eating grubs, but it will not impact people, pets, mammals, birds, bees, butterflies or other animals. The treatment will be applied manually by trained and licensed pest management specialists and will be as unobtrusive as possible. The CFIA has also implemented movement controls for soil and plants with soil out of the regulated area year-round to prevent further spread of the pest.

“We’re working together to contain and treat areas infested with the beetle and to reduce the risk it poses,” adds Wallin. “Each partner is playing a role to eliminate the infestation, and reduce the risk of letting the Japanese beetle spread.”

“Vancouver and its surroundings are known for their green and beautiful gardens and forests, but all of this and more are now at risk due to the arrival on our shores of the Japanese Beetle, says Hedy Dyck, chief operating officer of the BC Landscape & Nursery Association. “The British Columbia Landscape and Nursery Association strongly supports the eradication of Japanese Beetle in what is currently a very localized area in Vancouver to minimize the risk of this destructive pest moving freely throughout our forests, wildlands as well as gardens and local food supply of BC.”

“The agriculture horticulture sector as well as other industry stakeholders may be severely impacted by this pest,” says Stan Vander Waal, president of the BC Agriculture Council. “We support the work that the BC Landscape & Nursery Association is doing on behalf of the industry to try and establish the effect this pest would have on the industry. Eradicating this invasive pest is key to sustaining BC’s high-quality products while maintaining our strong export markets.”

If someone suspects that they have Japanese beetle on their property, they are asked to please call 1-800-442-2342 or report the sighting on the CFIA’s website at www.inspection.gc.ca/jb.

About the Invasive Species Council of BC

The Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC) is working to minimize the negative ecological, social and economic impacts caused by the introduction, establishment, and spread of invasive species for more than 10 years. Their goals are to: educate the public and professionals about invasive species and their risks to ecosystems and economies through activities such as workshops, seminars and newsletters; coordinate research relating to invasive species and make this available to the public; and undertake and support actions that improve the health of BC’s natural ecosystems. For more information or to find your local invasive species committee visit www.bcinvasives.ca.

Media contact: Gail Wallin | gwallin@bcinvasives.ca | 250-305-9161