Asian longhorned beetle a major concern for area maple syrup producers

MINDEMOYA—Don’t look now but there is yet another influx of an invasive species that has terrible effects on trees—this one on maple trees.

“Manitoulin Island is already a quarantined area for the emerald ash borer (EAB), and by the time it is evident it is five miles away killing trees,” said Lee Hayden, a Gordon/Barrie Island councillor and a member of the Manitoulin Area Stewardship Council (MASC), during a Manitoulin Municipal Association (MMA) meeting last week.

“EAB is here and we are still looking at what can be done to get rid of them. You can’t save an entire forest (infested with them) but can save individual trees on properties,” said Mr. Hayden. He said the maple syrup industry is also very concerned about the influx of Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), which has been found in Toronto. “If this spreads at all it is really bad news…for every maple tree in Ontario.”

“The main message we have to continue to get out and stress to people is don’t move wood, there shouldn’t be any wood moved onto Manitoulin Island,” said Mr. Hayden.

Mr. Hayden told the Recorder after the meeting, “as far as the Asian longhorned beetle, the primary species of trees that they like is maple, so this is a major concern for the maple syrup association.”

He said this invasive species had first been spotted in Vaughn in 2003-2004 and a quarantine was put in place in the area. “Any maple tree in the area had to be cut down.”

“This fall the Asian longhorned beetle was found around the airport in Toronto,” said Mr. Hayden. The Maple Syrup Association, “is waiting for a report to come out later this winter at what can be done with this infestation. We know there are infestations in the US that are almost out of control.”

If the ALB finds its way to areas like Manitoulin Island, “it is like a death sentence for maple trees. They are somewhat like EAB—it takes hold and kills off all the trees. I know the maple syrup industry in North America is very concerned about this new invasive species. At the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association meeting (earlier this month) this was a main topic on the agenda.

“That’s the thing, people should not be moving wood onto the Island unless it is treated pallets,” said Mr. Hayden. “A lot of people are not aware of what type of species of bugs or disease that can be brought from other areas and the effects it can have on trees on the Island. The ALB, like the EAB, is definitely not a native bug to the Island.”

Tom Sasvari