Destructive beetle officially driven out of Mississauga

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A pestilent (and frightening) insect has been driven out of Mississauga and Toronto, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) says.

The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Marie-Claude Bibeau and the Minister of Natural Resources, Seamus O’Regan, recently announced that the Asian longhorned beetle (ALHB) has been eradicated from the cities of Mississauga and Toronto.

The ALHB, a destructive wood-boring insect that endangers maples and other hardwood trees (such as poplar, birch and willow), was seen as a significant threat to Canada’s hardwood and maple syrup industries.

It was not known to have settled anywhere else in Ontario. 

According to the CFIA, the ALHB was discovered in Mississauga and Toronto in August 2013, after previously having been eradicated in both Toronto and Vaughan after first being discovered in those cities in 2003. 

The ALHB is not native to Canada and has no natural controls, the CFIA says. At this point, tree removal is the most effective way of mitigating the spread of the beetle to uninfested trees.

To prevent spread to other areas, the CFIA established a regulated area within the cities that restricted the movement of nursery stock, trees, lumber, wood, and wood products, including all firewood, unless given prior authorization. 

The CFIA says a promotional campaign and help from residents and businesses helped eradicate the pest. 

“Today’s announcement builds on all the work we have been doing in collaboration with our federal, provincial and municipal partners," Bibeau said in a statement. 

"Together, we continue to work to prevent the introduction and spread of plant pests within Canada in an effort to protect our plant resources, which is critical to food security and our wellbeing.”

After five years of surveys with no detection of the insect, the ALHB-infested place order has been repealed, effective June 9, 2020. 

The CFIA says that while the movement of firewood and host tree materials will no longer be restricted, residents should note that pests often travel by hitching a ride in firewood. 

"It is always recommended to buy and burn wood locally," the CFIA said.

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