By Melissa Deeder
After five years of being thought of as long gone, the Asian Long-Horned Beetle is back.
According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the beetle existed between 2003-2007 in the cities of Toronto and Vaughn. The area was quarantined and control efforts started.
Although this new find is in Mississauga it could be related to the Toronto-Vaughn area, but it’s also possible that it’s a new infestation and has been discovered in the early stages of development.
“The fact that it’s been found again doesn’t really surprise me, ” said Heather Somers, Senior Horticulture Technician at Humber College’s Arboretum. “You can control pests but you can never eradicate them.”
The beetle could attack several kinds of hardwood trees, like maple. Eventually it kills infested trees and also spreads throughout the movement of infested wood.
But even with the beetle reappearing, the Emerald Ash Borer might be more of a threat.
“Emerald Ash Borer is more of a threat at the moment,” said Michelle Bourdeau, Program Manager at LEAF, which says on its website that it “is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the protection and improvement of the urban forest.”
Bourdeau added that while the Asian long-horned beetle is of some concern, it’s only been found in Mississauga, whereas the borer has been detected throughout the city.
The bug is “much more of a slow moving pest that I don’t think it’s killing as many trees within the urban forest as something like the Emerald Ash Borer,” said Somers.
The issue, said Somers, is that the ALHB attacks all different types of trees, whereas the Emerald Ash Borer is specific to one type of tree, making its destruction more specific and targeted.
However, Somers added that the beetles are easier to locate since they don’t fly great distances or spread as fast in addition to being big and hard to miss. In comparison, the Emerald Ash is tiny, making it harder to see. As well, its exit holes are difficult to find and it can fly quite a distance she said.