With the May long weekend approaching, the City of Regina is out with a warning for anyone headed out of town who may be camping.
Manager of forestry, pest control and horticulture Russell Eirich wants to ensure Dutch Elm Disease does not significantly find its way into Regina and then spread. He urges people to simply leave elm firewood behind.
“Elm firewood is illegal. It actually harbours Dutch Elm Disease and it’s a breeding ground for elm bark beetles,” Eirich described.
He said one should especially be careful if they’re planning on being in the Qu’Appelle Valley, Buffalo Pound or Last Mountain Lake.
“Dutch Elm Disease is really rampant through those areas and so please, please, please do not bring elm wood back from the cottage or back from the campground; leave it out there.”
Even a small log can produce hundreds of beetles explained Eirich, which can then move on to and infect other trees.
How can people tell what an elm log looks like?
Eirich said the dead giveaway is alternating colours of cream and tan inside the log. The outside may be gray in colour as well. Aside from laboratory testing, he said there is no way to tell if an elm log is infected with dutch elm disease.
To help battle these beetles and prevent them from spreading, the city has 85 white, sticky pheromone traps set up across Regina.
Mosquito numbers ‘well below average’
Speaking of traps, Eirich said over the last week the city’s 12 mosquito traps only caught one. The average for this time of year would see three mosquitoes per trap for a total of 36.
“We’re still well below average. I think this still has something to do with last year’s drought and how that’s related to it,” he surmised.
Because there aren’t many standing bodies of water, Eirich said they have begun to roll back some of their control measures for the time being.
Tent caterpillar spray season approaches
The city is its in final stages of preparation for its spraying program for tent caterpillars and cankerworms.
Eirich said it is still a little early to control those populations since they are just starting to hatch and trees haven’t developed a full set of leaves yet.
He anticipates numbers to be lower this year compared to last.
“The population is still coming down so I think we’re through the worst but there still may be some pockets in the city that we’ll have to do,” said Eirich.
The spray program won’t be as detailed as it was last year, Eirich estimated, adding that populations of the fuzzy creatures are cyclical and peaked two years ago.