Over the past few years, the Healthy Forest Partnership, with the help of its partners and several community scientists, has been closely monitoring spruce budworm populations in Newfoundland.

Since 2017, data has shown gradual increases in populations along the western coast. This year, populations have reached levels requiring treatment, and as such, up to 40,000 hectares of forest area is scheduled to be aerially treated. The product used is BTK, a natural-occurring soil bacterium approved for use in Canada. BTK is widely used in organic farming and must be ingested by the caterpillar to be effective. It is not harmful to humans or other mammals, bees, birds, or fish when used according to label conditions.

This treatment is done as part of the Early Intervention Strategy (EIS). Simply put, the EIS involves intense population monitoring and research, followed by targeting and treating hotspots at the leading outbreak edge to prevent further spread. Leading this initiative is a group of scientists, academia, government, and industry working together to find new ways to limit spruce budworm’s impact in Atlantic Canada.

Treatments in Newfoundland are scheduled to begin in July. Treatment maps, information on BTK and information on the treatment program in Newfoundland is available on the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador’s website.