City committee warned beetle could eat up London trees and taxes
April 11, 2017
The planning and environment committee received a warning Monday through a staff report about a destructive pest that could damage up to 40 per cent of London trees.
Although the Asian longhorned beetle hasn’t arrived in London yet, the pest has cost Toronto $35.5 million in tree removal fees.
To help with potential coverage, the committee voted in favour of requesting more sources of funding from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to remove the pests should they arrive in the city.
Although the Canadian Food Inspection Agency could provide financial assistance, councillors are worried it wouldn’t be enough for the beetle dubbed a bigger threat than the Emerald Ash Borer.
The Asian longhorned beetle is native to China and the Korean peninsula. It was first detected in Canada in 1982 at ports of entry and in warehouses, where it was intercepted before it could make its way into Canadian trees. By 2003, it had found its way to the outskirts of Toronto.
In the report presented to the committee, staff highlighted the beetle’s migration trails traveling though wood or packing materials on ships, trains and planes.
It could take up to two years before the bugs bore out of eggs in chosen trees, leaving holes up to 10 millimetres in diameter.
Londoners are encouraged to keep an eye out for the pests that could result in a large-scale tree removal across the city.