Moths infesting Boundary area

There have been a lot of moths in the Boundary area lately and the spruce budworm moths are in the middle of their lifecycle.

There have been a lot of moths in the Boundary area lately.

The spruce budworm moths are in the middle of their lifecycle.

The infestation of these moths is worrisome because they can cause trees, like Douglas fir that they infest, to defoliate and lose their needles.

Gary Smith, owner of Gaia Principals Integrated Pest Management Services, said the infestation seems to be dying down now.

“They’re dwindling now, certainly in numbers, but that big flush was like a scene out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie,” he said.

Smith does consultation work for some of the businesses in the area and said that so far the budworm hasn’t affected anything he’s seen.

“If I see any kind of tunneling or mining going on in the few Douglas fir that we had then I would certainly do a treatment, but where it’s an issue is basically the forest, where successive defoliation can kill a tree,” he said.

The spruce budworm hatches near the end of July or beginning of August.

“They’re around for maybe a couple of weeks while they’re mating and laying eggs and then they die,” he said.

The main source of food for them is Douglas fir, true fir and spruce.

“There’s kind of misnomer that they’re called the spruce budworm, when they could probably easily be called the Douglas fir budworm,” he said.

The larvae mine the needles and then web them together.

“Which kind of protects them from predators and things like that,” he said. “They come in pretty serious outbreaks that can last a long time.”

In 1987, there was an outbreak that covered over 800,000 hectares in the Southern Interior.

He said that like most insects, the budworm outbreaks run in cycles.

Art Stock, an entomologist out of Midway, is preparing for egg surveys later this year, with a training course for volunteers scheduled Aug. 17 in Rock Creek.

Those interested can contact Stock at 250-825-1158.