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Okanagan Western Spruce Budworm Photos

LAST UPDATE May 03, 2014

Click on your refresh button in the top menu, to be sure you see any updates.

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Make a comment near the bottom of this page in regards to the Western Spruce Budworm.  What do you think government or private property owners should do about this bug.  Should we let it get out of hand like we did the Mountain Pine Beetle?

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The Western Spruce Budworm overwinters in the trees cones, and so

the recommendation is to pick up and burn all your tree cones.

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Ministry of Forests - Photos of the Western Spruce Budworm

Ministry of Forests - .pdf icon Excellent Photos

Natural Resources Canada - Photos of the Western Spruce Budworm

Natural Resources Canada Canadian Forest Service - Photos of the Western Spruce Budworm

Forestry UBC - Photos and Info

 

This photo of the Western Spruce Bud Worm carcass below was taken by okanaganlakebc.ca
Western Spruce Budworm carcass
click image for a larger photo of the Western Spruce Budworm carcass.

Western Spruce Budworm larvae
click image for a larger photo of the Western Spruce Budworm larvae

Tree partially defoliated by the Western Spruce Budworm
click image for a larger photo of the tree partially defoliated by the Western Spruce Budworm

Evening grosbeaks flock to areas infested with spruce budworm to breed and raise their young. (If an evening grosbeak were to get all its daily energy from budworm larvae it would eat 1,000 a day.) Because of its appetite for this destructive pest, the evening grosbeak is considered a beneficial bird. Source Answers.com
 

A single year of defoliation generally has little impact on the tree. However, it does cause weakening of the tree, making it more susceptible to attacks by other insects. Defoliation over a few consecutive years causes tree growth loss. However, if defoliation of current- and previous-year shoots continues uninterrupted over several years, some trees will die, while others will continue to gradually decline for several years, even after the end of the infestation. This is the case with fir, the species most vulnerable to spruce budworm attacks, which dies after four consecutive years of severe defoliation.  Source Natural Resources Canada

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Primary host is Douglas-fir but will attack some true firs, spruce, and larch.

Tree Mortality is common if there are successive years of attack.

Specific Management Options
Reforest with a mix of species and maintaining a mosaic of species and ages across the landscape
- Reintroduce prescribed fire and/or thinning to maintain open, single level stand structure and to prevent dense Douglas-fir regeneration.

Source - http://www.regionaldistrict.com/docs/parks/foresthealthstrategy.pdf

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June 3, 2011

we are starting to notice a few moths at our outside light.  We took the photo below of the Cooley spruce gall adelgid, Adelges cooleyi on June 3, 2011.  Does it look like those eggs are getting any bigger?

Cooley spruce gall adelgid, Adelges cooleyi -  Eggs in the Okanagan Kelowna BC
click the photo for a larger picture

 

May 17, 2011

We notice fuzzy stuff stuck under the fir tree needles, and they look like they are probably Cooley spruce gall adelgid, Adelges cooleyi.

We see these eggs on many trees at Valley of the Sun on the Westside of Okanagan Lake near Fintry.

Cooley spruce gall adelgid, Adelges cooleyi eggs
click the photo for a larger picture.

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Photo's of the Western Spruce Budworm's pupa and larvae.

These photo's were taken in the Fintry area of North Westside Road along the Westside of Okanagan Lake BC.

 

In this photo you can see the pupa of the Western Spruce Budworm hanging off the end of a Douglas-fir tree branch near the bud.  You can also see there are needles missing.
In this photo you can see the Western Spruce Budworm's cocoon hanging off the end of a branch on a douglas-fir tree.
click for larger image.

 

In this photo you can see pieces of the Western Spruce Budworm's cocoon
and the larvae of the Western Spruce Budworm.
In this photo you can see the Western Spruce Budworm's back and the cocoon pieces it was encased in hanging from the end of the branch on a tree where the buds start coming out.
click for larger image.

 

Here you can see the Western Spruce Budworms belly.
In this photo you can see the pieces of cocoom that this Western Spruce Budworm was encased in and sitting on the end of a tree branch where the bud comes out.
click for larger image.

 

In the left of this photo below you can see the Western Spruce Budworms larvae's eye.
In this photo the Western Spruce Budworm is laying on its side with its belly facing you and you can see the Western Spruce Budworm's black dot looking eye to the left of the photo.
click for larger image.
 

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Balsam Woolly Adelgid

There is tremendous concern the Balsam Woolly Adelgid will spread into the Interior and infest the very important and widely distributed subalpine fir forests. There is a provincial regulation that restricts the movement of true firs within B.C. to reduce the risk of balsam woolly adelgid spreading into the Interior of B.C.

There are no known pathogens of the adelgid and attempts to control it with chemicals are usually ineffective.

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August 18, 2010 email we received in reply to an email we sent asking about the Western Spruce Budworm

Hello – I was through that area just last Thursday. The Crown land is under consideration for treatment but more sampling is needed and the population is just building in the area. In regards to spraying your property, unless there are a number of residents wanting the treatment, thus making up up a fairly large area (ha), it is difficult to treat. Like I mentioned before, your trees probably will not be killed and the outbreak will subside in a few years. You could ask some private agriculture/spray businesses in Kelowna if they offer a service to spray. Also, if you and others in the area decide to spray, you will need a Pesticide Use permit from the Ministry of Environment and that is a process you should start immediately to get it in place in time for treatment plus there is a fee. In my opinion, your trees will not be killed by the budworm and will probably survive the few years of defoliation they will get.

If you want to pursue this further please email or call. Thank you.

"Fear no Weevil"
Lorraine Maclauchlan, Ph.D.
Forest Entomologist, Southern Interior Region
441 Columbia Street
Kamloops, B.C. V2C 2T3
Phone: 250-828-4179
Cell: 250-319-4262
Fax: 250-828-4154

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August 17, 2010 email we received in reply to questions about the Western Spruce Budworm infestation in the North Westside Road area.

Hello – your inquiry was passed on to me and I will attempt to give you some additional information about the western spruce budworm and the Ministry of Forests’ defoliator program. I am a forest entomologist and am in charge of the defoliator programs for the southern interior section of the province. We have a well established defoliator program (over 20 years) and annually conduct a spray program for western spruce budworm that ranges from 10,000 ha to over 50,000 ha in size some years. This past summer (in mid-June) we treated approximately 49,000 ha of budworm affected forests with Foray 48B (B.t.k.). The southern portion of the program, which encompassed parts of the Merritt TSA and Okanagan TSA in 2010, was approximately 27,000 ha in size with the remainder of the program occurring in the Cariboo.

The western spruce budworm is a serious concern to forestry because of the growth loss, stem defects (e.g. top-kill) and potential tree mortality that it can cause. The budworm seldom kills trees in a single year and unless stands are defoliated for a number of consecutive years they rebound very well. Priority areas for treatment are stands that have structured canopies, meaning small and intermediate sized trees mixed in with large mature trees. These types of stands incur the most substantial damage and are targeted for spray when they have had two or more years of light to moderate defoliation or when severe defoliation is predicted. The Ministry of Forests does not treat budworm on private lands although has partnered with Regional Districts or private land owners with large tracts of forested lands, and assisted/consulted in the operational aspects of spraying.

We have just completed our aerial overview mapping and the results are currently being digitized. The exercise notes all areas where defoliation is detected. My next step is to identify from this map key areas to conduct egg mass sampling so as to have a predictive tool to develop my 2011 spray program. The Southern Interior Forest region website is updated as new information or plans are determined.

http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/rsi/ForestHealth/Western_Spruce_Budworm.htm

What you can do about western spruce budworm: you can protect smaller trees by spraying with B.t.k. which is a biological insecticide specific to Lepidoptera (larvae of moths & butterflies). For large, mature trees aerial spraying or systemic insecticides should be considered. However, as I noted above, it is unlikely that your trees will die from the budworm. Another defoliator pest that is active in the area, Douglas-fir tussock moth, can kill trees in a single year. The western spruce budworm affects primarily Douglas-fir but can also defoliate spruce, larch and true firs. It will not reach the level of outbreak that we saw with the mountain pine beetle and it is not a tree killer in the way MPB is.

If you have further questions or concerns about the western spruce budworm of the Ministry’s spray program please contact me by email or phone (noted below). Thank you.

"Fear no Weevil"
Lorraine Maclauchlan, Ph.D.
Forest Entomologist, Southern Interior Region
441 Columbia Street
Kamloops, B.C. V2C 2T3
Phone: 250-828-4179
Cell: 250-319-4262
Fax: 250-828-4154

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August 12, 2010 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance & Services Committee Agenda

Item 5.1 Quarterly Program Measures Report.pdf

Agenda No: 5.1
Mtg Date: August 12, 2010
TO: RDCO Directors and Department Heads
FROM: Donna Adams, Accounting Analyst; Marilyn Rilkoff, Manager of Finance and Administration
DATE: July 30,2010
SUBJECT: Quarterly Program Measures Report, Year to Date June 30, 2010

*This is only a snippet of the 8 pages*

The following are some of the highlights for the year from the Quarterly Report, but are certainly not all inclusive. We do recommend that the report and each program be reviewed, particularly with respect to "Department Initiative Status Reports", the "Summary of Year to Date Results", and Project Updates for the various programs. There are too many items too be covered in this summary, and everyone's level of interest in the various programs and departments varies.

Executive Summary:

142 - Regional Parks (Page 105): Walk BC BCPRA Grant for $4,000 resulted in the successful Tracks Walking Club program in Mission Creek Regional Park. In March, UBCM contributed $379,425 for Regional Parks Operational Fuel Management Treatments 2009. NRCAN grant of $7,500 awarded for the final Operational Wildfire Protection Plan that has been received by the Regional Board. The Region Wide Community Wildfire Prevention Plan is also finalized and approved by the Regional Board. Community Adjustment Fund ~ Job Opportunity Program grant of $250,000 secured for regional park forest fuel modification work. Habitat Conservation Trust Fund application for support funding to complete sensitive ecosystem inventory of regional parks not awarded. Project is to commence with funding from RDCO. Mission Creek Greenway Scenic Canyon Trail ~ restoration received $42,500 under the Recreational Infrastructure Canada Program to upgrade a portion of the trail by widening, resurfacing and installing wooden stairs to reduce erosion and improve bank stabilization along a steep portion of the trail. Mission Creek Greenway Phase II Pinch Point detailed design and environmental assessment are near completion. Tender documents for the proposed tunnel are being prepared. Mission Creek Greenway Phase II Security Residence Occupancy Permit has been issued. Closure of the Mission Creek Greenway is scheduled for June 1 to approximately October 1 to accommodate the replacement of the Gordon Drive bridge. During May & June, unbudgeted staff resources were allocated to the pesticide applications for the Douglas Fir Tussock Moth organic pesticide treatment project in Trepanier Valley, Coyote Ridge and Upper Ellison areas. Hazard tree removals were completed in six Regional Parks including Mission Creek, Kalamoir, Coldham, Kopje, Glen Canyon, and Gellatly Heritage due to the Mountain Pine Beetle. NRCAN funding granted in the amount of $97,000. Titles to the Gellatly Nut Farm and Gellatly Heritage Regional Parks will remain vested in the name of RDCO. Official opening of the new playground structure at Gellatly Nut Farm Regional Park occurred June 20,2010. A temporary repair has been completed to enable recreational boaters to utilize the popular launch at the Okanagan Centre Safe Harbour prior to the launch structure replacement. Western Screech Owl Stewardship Agreement has been signed by the Ministry of Environment to protect the endangered Western Screech Owl and its habitat within several Regional Parks. The EECO Centre had over 12,500 visitors. The "Hunters in the Sky: Raptors of the Okanagan" exhibit received many comments and many groups toured through the "In the Line of Fire" exhibit. The preschool story time was well attended and the school education program "Owls in the Classroom" was very successful. Spring Break camps included programs on botany and raptors, with maximum enrolment. Success was also met with the "Go Fish", "Tracks Walking" and "Take a Hike" Programs. The website had 3,030 views of the Regional Parks Guide. Fleet changes included the sale of the 1995 John Deere Gator to Dog Control and the purchase of a 2006 Mazda pickup from Dog Control. Three vehicles are scheduled for sale at auction in addition to a trailer and a beach cleaner / sand sifter.

143 - Westside Community Parks (Page 109): UBCM is providing a $2,000 grant for an educational and information kiosk at the trailhead for the Trepanier Greenway. The Regional Board supports a proposed Wildfire Protection Fuel Modification Project by the Okanagan Indian Band as the area surrounding the Westshore subdivision, including the new Westshore Estates Community Park, is considered a high priority for treatment in order to reduce potential fire threats. Meetings completed with North Westside Community Association regarding proposed recreational pier project at Killiney Beach. Preferred solution is to target swim area markers instead of pier project. Operational maintenance contract implemented for Central Okanagan West Community Parks located north and inclusive of Fintry Parks. The Statutory Right-of-Way survey for Jack Creek Linear Trail has been completed.

144 - Eastside Community Parks (Page 112): UBCM Tourism Grant funding of $4,500 targeted for implementation of a "Welcome to Joe Rich" highway sign. Aerial pesticide applications for the Tussock Moth Spray Program were completed over the upper Ellison Area. In collaboration with Ministry of Forests and Range staff, COE community parks are being monitored but not treated for Douglas Fir Tussock Moth or Spruce Budworm due to limited outbreak conditions with direct effect on RDCO parks.

August 12, 2010 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance & Services Committee Meeting Minutes

Not available until the Regional Board approves the minutes at the following meeting.

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Update: May 1, 2010: More info on pest control management in Central Okanagan East. First, the Ministry of Environment is planning a Budworm spray program in the Joe Rich area on Crown land.

Western Spruce Budworm 2010 Spray program in the Joe Rich area
Lorraine Maclauchlan, Ph.D.
Forest Entomologist
Southern Interior Forest Region
Ministry of Forests & Range
441 Columbia Street
Kamloops, B.C.
V2C 2T3


Approximately 36,000 ha of Interior Douglas-fir forests are scheduled for treatment with Foray 48B (Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki, B.t.k.; PCP #24977) in the Merritt and Okanagan TSA’s of the Southern Interior Region in 2010. The treatment is targeted at decreasing damage (defoliation) caused by the western spruce budworm, Choristoneura occidentalis. The proposed treatment falls under the Southern Interior Forest Region Pest Management Plan that was circulated for comment in April 2008, and was subsequently approved, and is effective May 1, 2008 to July 31, 2012. The Ministry of Environment, Environmental Protection, was notified of the new PMP and under the integrated Pest Management Act and Regulations was assigned a Pesticide Use Number PUP #738-009-2008/2013. Each year the Ministry of Environment is sent a “Notification of Intent to Treat” that indicates the areas and hectares to be treated in that calendar year.

Within the Joe Rich area there are approximately 6,000 ha proposed for treatment with Foray 48B (B.t.k.) in June 2010. This area encompasses Crown forest land and woodlots that were defoliated in 2009 by the budworm and where 2010 defoliation is predicted to occur. The blocks laid out for treatment run from Joe Rich in the south to the Ellis-Postill Lake area in the north. These blocks will be reduced somewhat in the coming weeks as operational boundaries become more defined and monitoring of the budworm population proceeds.

Application will be by Western Aerial Applications Ltd. using rotary wing aircraft (Hiller and Lama helicopters). The application will be at 2.4 litres per hectare and will be conducted at some point between June 8th, 2010, and June 30th, 2010, dependent upon insect development and local weather. The natural biological insecticide, B.t.k., trade name Foray 48B, will be the insecticide used in the 2010 spray program against the western spruce budworm. B.t.k. is a natural organism commonly used to control Lepidoptera larvae and does not harm or affect other insects or organisms such as humans, horses or frogs to name a few. B.t.k. becomes active in the gut pH found in Lepidoptera stomachs (>9.5 pH) whereas it passes through the guts of other organisms because they do not have this particular alkaline gut pH. B.t.k. is not considered toxic for people, animals, birds, fish and other insects such as bees and ladybird beetles. It does not harm water supplies or aquatic habitats. Foray 48B is used in certified organic production and is registered for the control of insects on organically grown crops. Foray 48B is registered with the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI).

The caterpillars eat the B.t.k. while feeding on the tree's foliage. It has a very low toxicity level and is considered extremely safe. Over the past two decades, the Ministry of Forests and Range has treated moderately to severely defoliated stands annually in early summer to prevent damage and mortality to high value Douglas-fir stands. Last year approximately 72,000 hectares were treated for budworm in the Southern Interior Forest Region (Kamloops and Cariboo areas).

The following criteria must be met when planning a control program for western spruce budworm.

Damage Criteria: the stand has suffered a minimum of 1-year defoliation and defoliation predictions are moderate to severe for the coming year. Note: this does not apply to the eruptive defoliators such as loopers and tussock moths.

Insect Criteria: populations are building/increasing and expanding in range.

Recent defoliation history: light to moderate defoliation has occurred for a minimum of one year as determined in the aerial overview survey, and typically two or more years, before treatment would be considered. Defoliation to understory trees is much higher, generally moderate to severe. Defoliation in the coming season is predicted to be moderate to severe and trees in the understory layers will incur high levels of damage (mortality and top-kill) if there is no intervention.

Areas considered for treatment must meet one or more of the following factors:
• stand is in a historic area of chronic budworm activity;
• located in a woodlot;
• high in-stand mortality of other tree species such as lodgepole or Ponderosa pines
• silviculture investment, such as spacing, pruning, thinning;
• recent partial cutting;
• moderate to high density in L3 and L4 layers (understory layers); and/or
• Douglas-fir dominated ecosystems such as the IDFxh and IDFdk. (e.g. ICH stands endure very short-lived outbreak cycles and trees rebound quickly, so do not warrant direct control efforts);
• must be on Crown Land within the Timber Harvest Land Base (THLB);
• evidence of Douglas-fir beetle activity (building or adjacent).

Population reduction versus foliage protection
Direct control strategies include population reduction and foliage protection. Foliage protection is the strategy most commonly adopted for western spruce budworm outbreaks in B.C. The aim is to reduce feeding damage in order to maintain tree vigour and resilience. Low levels of defoliation (1-2 years) are acceptable.
Population reduction can be applied to areas where little or no defoliation can be tolerated. This strategy is applied in the early stages of an outbreak, to reduce extremely high populations, thereby minimizing significant resource impacts.
Variation in the timing of direct control can achieve either foliage protection or population reduction. Higher insect mortality is achieved when later instars are targeted (5th or 6th instar) however more B.t.k. must be consumed per insect to achieve desired results, and thus more damage is incurred prior to treatment. Late instars are more open feeding, consume greater quantities of foliage, and are thus more likely to encounter and consume a lethal dose of B.t.k.
Typically, peak 4th instars are targeted to minimize defoliation by the western spruce budworm. Timing to achieve good foliage protection is difficult due to differences in host phenology and insect phenology. Larvae remain feeding in buds until 4th instar, and are thus well protected from predators and the effects of a spray program. Larvae begin open feeding on the flushed shoots at about the 4th instar. Buds on overstory trees should be >80% flushed prior to treatment and understory trees should be close to 100% flushed.
Defoliation history of trees and stands, combined with the predicted level of defoliation, influence which stands are treated and which tactic will be implemented. Stands that have already sustained significant damage over 2 or more years (moderate to severe whole tree defoliation) should be managed under the foliage protection strategy. This will decrease further significant damage from occurring. If the population reduction strategy is applied in this situation, considerable damage would occur prior to the treatment being applied.
The population of budworm in the area is always assessed in the spring prior to treatment of proposed blocks. Larvae emerge from their overwintering sites in May and disperse, seeking buds in which to feed. This is a critical period in the population dynamics of western spruce budworm and is very dependent upon weather conditions and the synchrony of the host and the insect. If low levels of bud mining are observed in the spring portions or entire blocks may be eliminated from treatment or conversely, enlarged.
Treatment typically occurs in mid-June when the budworm is in the peak 4th instar and feeding openly on expanding Douglas-fir shoots.

The Southern Interior Forest Region Pest Management Plan is located on the following site: http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/rsi/ForestHealth/PDF/SIR_PMP_March 11_2008.pdf

Source - Kelly Hayes

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June 3, 2011 we noticed some different eggs stuck under tree needles.. they are black and not blue like the Western Spruce Budworm and they are smaller. 

Not sure what they are, but we will try and find out and let you know.


click the photo for a larger view.

 

Here is another photo


click the photo for a larger view.

Hello okanaganlakebc.ca – they look like Adelges cooleyi or some kind of scale insect. They will not harm your tree.

"Fear no Weevil"
Lorraine Maclauchlan
Forest Entomologist, Thompson Okanagan Region
441 Columbia Street
Kamloops, B.C. V2C 2T3
Phone: 250-828-4179
Fax: 250-828-4154

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2007 Overview of
Forest Health in the
Southern Interior Forest Region

.pdf icon http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfd/library/FIA/2008/FSP_M085169a.pdf

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Another pest in the Okanagan is the Tussock Moth.

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Never doubt the ability of a small group of concerned citizens to change the world.  In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.

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If you have comments, ideas, solutions, concerns or complaints regarding any level of your local, B.C., or Canada government, please make a comment by filling out the form below and/or comment directly to the government itself.

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