The Town of Okotoks is continuing to closely monitor the spread of Emerald Ash Borer in Canada.

The invasive beetle species arrived in Canada in the 90s and is estimated to have killed millions of ash trees in the eastern part of North America.

Town council discussed their ongoing pest management plan at Monday's council meeting, including measures to continue to monitor the beetle.

Gordon White, Urban Forester with the Town, says it's important the Town stays on the lookout.

"It potentially can kill all ash trees in an area. It feeds on the leaves as an adult, but most of the damage is caused by the larvae that feeds underneath the bark and cuts off the transport system of the tree eventually."

Emerald Ash Borers have been spotted as far west as Winnipeg in the past, though not yet in Alberta.

White suggests there is one specific action residents can do to help prevent the spread of the beetle.

"Don't transport firewood in or out of the province," he said. "This is how it's believed to have gotten from Thunder Bay to Winnipeg."

The update to the pest management plan includes the recommendation to place sticky traps provided by the Canadian Food & Inspection Agency to help audit the beetle's spread across the country.

Whitelisted yellowing or chewed leaves, bark sloughing off the tree, and vertical cracks as examples of symptoms you can look for to see whether the beetle has arrived in Alberta. 

"The larvae, when it turns into an adult underneath the bark will exit the tree, and create this little hole that's D-shaped, probably only a couple millimeters in diameter, but it's quite distinct."


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