Northumberland County forest selected to study sap beetles to fight invasive fungus

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is sampling sap beetles in Northumberland County Forest in an effort to fight an invasive fungus that attacks oak trees.

The fungus causes Oak wilt disease, a vascular disease that is currently prevalent in the United States, but that has not yet impacted Canadian forests, according to County Forest management.

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The disease is often spread by sap beetles, which transfer the fungus from infected trees to healthy ones.

The forest north of Cobourg, Ont., is one of three locations to sample the Nitidulid beetles and their interaction with oak trees. Sampling is also being conducted in Sault Ste. Marie and Essex.

The study aims to develop pre-cautionary management guidelines for Oak Wilt Disease in Canada.

“While this study is preventive in nature, it is important that we analyze any potential threat to our environment,” said County Forest Manager Todd Farrell.

“We were eager to contribute to this innovative research, which has the potential to positively impact the health of forests across Ontario.”

The study includes monitoring three wind-oriented traps and three tree wound traps set up in April. The traps will collect samples of the beetle until the end of August.

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“The samples will from these traps will provide the Ministry with key information about which beetle species are most common in certain areas of Ontario, which species visit fresh oak wounds, the life cycle of the beetles and their potential to transfer the disease, the County stated.

Northumberland County CAO Jennifer Moore said the collaboration with the MNRF “speaks to the mission of Northumberland County as a whole.”

“We aim to be a best practices leader in all of our endeavors, and this is especially relevant with respect to protecting and preserving the diverse and thriving ecosystems that make the Northumberland County Forest so unique,” she said.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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