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

UBC Okanagan to host Festival of Ideas with BC’s lieutenant governor

The inaugural event will feature a panel discussion with Janet Austin, B.C.’s lieutenant governor

AlleyCATS Okanagan: Pet of the week

Meet Softy a five-year-old Himalayan cat available for adoption

Largest aircraft to operate at YLW begins service to Toronto this summer

The Boeing 767-300ER will increase seat availability for flights to Toronto by 40 per cent

B.C. budget fails to ‘excite’ Kelowna business community

Chamber says Budget 2020 lacks a clearly defined competitiveness strategy

Median cost of newly-built homes in Kelowna metropolitan area stands at $950,000: Report

According to report, the price is almost on-par with newly-built home in Toronto

Kelowna divers ready to take on 2020 B.C. Winter Games

The athletes have been training four days a week

Penticton MLA urges government to address fatal stretch of Hwy 97

“People are being injured and lives are being lost on this stretch of highway.” - MLA Dan Ashton

Shuswap woman creates stress-reducing cuffs for Alzheimer’s patients

Personal connection to disease adds meaning to endeavour

Man accused in Salmon Arm 7-Eleven fire pleads not guilty to breach of bail

Supreme Court trial will decide arson charges while Provincial Court will look at breach charge

Alleged Okanagan animal abusers still awaiting trial date

Trial date expected to be set within the next three weeks

Province shows no interest in proposed highway between Alberta and B.C.

Province says it will instead focus on expanding the Kicking Horse Canyon to four lanes

HERGOTT: Driving while intoxicated

Paul Hergott is a personal injury lawyer based in West Kelowna

First case of COVID-19 in B.C. has fully recovered, health officer says

Three other cases are symptom-free and expected to test negative soon

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

Most Read