A Douglas-fir tussock moth larva. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development)

Tussock moth infestation in Cariboo is farthest north ever recorded in B.C.

Moth, which can quickly kill Douglas fir trees, spotted south of Alkali Lake

An insect infestation that has the ability to quickly kill healthy Douglas fir trees is on the move in B.C., and the province says it’s been found farther north than ever before.

A statement from the Ministry of Forests says an infestation of tussock moth has been found in trees in the western Cariboo, just south of the community of Alkali Lake.

The pest, which during a severe infestation can kill a large Douglas fir in just one to two years, is usually found in more southern parts of the province, such as Kamloops and the Okanagan.

Tussock moth caterpillars feed on the needles of the Douglas fir, stripping limbs, which appear scorched as they die, and trees weakened by the moth are more susceptible to beetle attacks.

Hairs on the moth caterpillars can also pose a human health risk because the ministry says the hairs can cause allergic reactions in about 20 per cent of people, producing rashes, watery eyes and sneezing.

In an effort to slow the spread of the moth, the ministry says firewood should not be taken from the Wycotte Flat area south of Alkali Lake.

“Tree limbs are particularly infectious, as they may contain eggs,” the ministry statement says.

READ MORE: Cariboo lakes confirmed clear of invasive mussels after testing

Caterpillars, which can be recognized by two long, black tufts on each side of their head and another at the rear, hatch in late spring and develop into moths from late July to early September.

Female moths lay approximately 200 eggs each, which hatch the following spring and the ministry says outbreaks typically last two to four years.

Ministry officials are assessing the affected area and the statement says a treatment plan will begin when the caterpillars re-emerge next spring.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vancouver Island’s current COVID-19 case count officially hits zero

Of the 130 recorded Island Health cases, five people have died, 125 recovered

MISSING: High-risk woman last seen on May 25

Police are asking for the public’s help in locating Jennifer Daughinee-Mendelson

More than 1,500 people expected at Victoria peace rally for Black lives

‘To speak up, all you need is a voice and the will to be heard’

Black bear sighting reported on UVic campus

University urging residents in the area to be careful

National Doughnut Day pays tribute to those on frontlines of First World War

The Salvation Army will be handing out doughnuts to community partners on Friday

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Alert Bay resident carves tribute to his community kicking COVID-19’s butt

‘Our little village crushed the curve with love and commitment’

End of an Era: Tofino hair studio closes shop

“We were getting excited to start ramping up and then all of sudden we had to close our doors.”

Kelowna Mountie on desk duty following ‘aggressive’ arrest

The officer involved in an arrest that took place on May 30 in Kelowna has been placed on administrative duties

Protests shift to memorializing George Floyd amid push for change

‘There is something better on the other side of this,’ says Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom

Most Read