Jackpine budworm spraying completed MNR to begin assessing its success

After 12 days of spraying the insecticide Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, for jackpine budworm, the Ministry of Natural Resources will begin a post-spray assessment within the next month.
The assessment will compare defoliage checks from before and after the spraying.
“They are looking at the effectiveness of the spray,” said Rachel Hill, with the MNR’s office in Fort Frances. “They will also look at areas that may need to be treated for next year.
“Basically, we will look at the percentage of effectiveness of the sprayed areas but everything looked good.”
Some 105,000 hectares of infested area were treated as planned.
Hill also said the ministry currently believes the spraying of Bt has been effective. They were checking the development of the insect throughout the project because Bt must be applied while the insects are eating.
The jackpine budworm is a native insect that feeds on the needles and flowers on jackpine. It reaches outbreak levels roughly every eight-10 years, but there recently has been a population explosion in an area north of Fort Frances.
Hill noted the infested area is much larger than the area they were able to spray simply because of the cost.
“We needed to prioritize the areas that needed to be sprayed,” she said, adding there are still some areas that will need to be treated in the future to control the infestation.
At this point, it’s been determined that the jackpine budworm has advanced its infestation into the Kenora and Dryden districts.
Surveys will be done by the MNR this winter in order to determine planning for next year.