The consortium fighting Japanese beetle in BC found fewer of the emerald-coloured pest last year, but detections occurred at more sites than in the past.
According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, 79 individuals were caught in a total of 2,790 traps as part of survey efforts in 2021. This was down from 214 captures in 2020, and marks the least number of captures since the pest was identified on the shores of False Creek in downtown Vancouver in 2017.
But the discovery last fall of individuals in south Vancouver and Burnaby prompted calls for renewed vigilance. The latest survey report shows that while far fewer individuals are being captured, they’re no longer being found primarily around False Creek as in the past.
While this is where 99% of the captures occurred in 2020, captures outside the regulated area – north from 12th Avenue to Burrard Inlet, between Burrard Street and Clark Drive – increased last year to 60% of finds.
The majority of these – 50 beetles – were found in Vancouver on the grounds of Queen Elizabeth and Carnarvon parks, on the city’s lush west side. Five beetles were found near Charles Rummel Park in Burnaby and a single beetle was found in Port Coquitlam.
A single beetle was also found in Port Coquitlam in 2020, underscoring the dangers of the pest hitching a ride on organic matter, equipment, trucks or even clothes and picnic blankets to new locations.
Should the pest enter agricultural areas, it could cause significant damage to a wide variety of ornamental and food crops.
Ultimately, the aim is to eliminate the pest. Two years of no detections would signal eradication, though monitoring would continue to maintain vigilance against future introductions.