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News Release

FOREIGN INSECT DISCOVERED IN HALIFAX PARK


(Halifax, May 20/ 2000) – The Brown Spruce Longhorn Beetle (Tetropium fuscum), foreign to North America, has been discovered in Point Pleasant Park in Halifax.

In recent years, the Halifax Regional Municipality has taken down more than a thousand trees from the park. Researchers originally thought the problem could be a combination of factors, including insect pests, a fungus, drought or environmental pollution.

This spring, a study by Natural Resources Canada (Canadian Forest Service) determined that the Brown Spruce Longhorn Beetle is attacking red spruce trees in Point Pleasant Park.

Mayor Walter Fitzgerald said “We are collaborating with a number of federal and provincial agencies, which include some of the best scientific and technical minds in the country, to find the best and most appropriate solution to this problem. Although we are still in the early stages, I can assure the citizens of HRM that they will be kept informed regarding the latest developments.”

Councillor Sue Uteck, who represents south end Halifax where Point Pleasant Park is located, said “ Point Pleasant Park is the most visited of all our municipal parks, with close to 1.5 million visits recorded last year. Unfortunately, large, wooded areas within an urban environment always experience a host of problems, including pest infestation. This latest discovery is new to Canada, so we are still in the early stages of learning about the Brown
Spruce beetle.”

The Brown Spruce Longhorn Beetle is native to Europe and Asia and usually attacks weakened or dying spruce trees. It may have arrived in Canada in low-quality wood packing or dunnage used to stow ship’s cargo. The red spruce does not appear have any natural defense against this foreign pest. In its new environment, the insect appears to be attacking healthy red spruce trees, as well as weakened and dying trees.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Canadian Forest Service, Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources and the Halifax Regional Municipality are collaborating on studies to assess the extent of spread and appropriate control actions.

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For more information, media may contact:

John O’ Brien, Halifax Regional Municipality, (902) 835-7151 (cell) (902) 452-3846
Gregg Cunningham, CFIA, Halifax, (902) 452-0156
Marcel Dawson, CFIA, Ottawa, (613) 228-6682 (francophone)
Ed Hurley, Canada Forest Service, Fredericton, (506) 470-3813