The discovery of a small number of Japanese beetles in south Vancouver and Burnaby have prompted renewed calls for vigilance and precautions on the part of industry and the public.
Since the pest’s discovery near False Creek in Vancouver in 2017, the BC Landscape and Nursery Association has been part of a coordinated response by all levels of government to control the pest. Should it enter agricultural areas, it could cause significant damage to a wide variety of ornamental and food crops.
“We are asking (members) to check for JB on their vehicles and trailers, so it doesn’t hitchhike, and also to look for any JB damage – skeletonizing leaves and other signs of feeding as they work throughout the area,” said BCLNA chief operating officer Hedy Dyck. “Early detection means more effective and targeted eradication if needed.”
Reports of the beetle outside the regulated area (north from 12th Avenue to Burrard Inlet, between Burrard Street and Clark Drive) are not unexpected, but this year’s finds are unprecedented.
Reports in previous years outside the regulated area have been of random individuals, such as the single female found last year in Port Coquitlam.
However, last year’s find was within a major transportation corridor, flagging the risk of the insect’s dispersal should a significant number hitch a ride on outbound traffic.
This would spell trouble for the otherwise highly successful eradication effort in Vancouver, which has reduced finds by more than 97% since 2017. Two years of no detections would signal eradication.
For further information or to report sightings, visit [www.inspection.gc.ca/JB].