Conservative government invests to fight beetle

Staff ~ The News
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The Conservative government has announced a multi-million dollar investment that will be used to help control the spread of the brown spruce longhorn beetle in Nova Scotia.

The Conservative government has announced a multi-million dollar investment that will be used to help control the spread of the brown spruce longhorn beetle in Nova Scotia.

The government will invest approximately $2.8 million over the next three years to help fund efforts to eradicate the beetle, announced Peter MacKay, minister of foreign affairs and minister of ACOA, on Saturday.

"Based on sound science, our government along with our partners will explore ways to control and mitigate the damage caused by this beetle in Nova Scotia. This funding is for collaborative research efforts to develop new technologies to detect, control and slow the spread of the beetle," MacKay said.

The brow spruce longhorn beetle (BSLB) was first discovered by Natural Resource Canada researchers at Point Pleasant Park eight years ago. To date, Nova Scotia is the only known place in North America where the beetle has been found. It attack living spruce trees, feeding on fresh phloem found under the bark. This leads to a high mortality rate among infected spruce trees.

So far efforts to eradicate the beetle - which is native to northern and central Europe as well as Siberia - have failed. Natural Resource Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are jointly funding the three-year project that will be undertaken to examine possible control methods.

"This insect is new to Canada. We don't understand how it lives, we don't understand enough about it," said John Richards, director general of Canadian Forest Service of Natural Resource Canada. "That's why we have enlisted two epistemologists and a chemist to look at ways in which to limit or decrease the spread of the beetle or to control it."

Organizations: Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Canadian Forest Service of Natural Resource Canada

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Canada, Point Pleasant Park North America Europe Siberia

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