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

Child falls down Bridal Veil Falls near Chilliwack, crews on scene

An 11-year-old boy fell over the falls about 25 to 30 feet and has suffered a head injury

LETTER: An unforgettable birthday

Grace Storteboom of Agassiz thanks everyone for an amazing birthday

Seabird Island community to recieve $2.1 million for community centre

Provincial, federal funding will contribute to local undertaking

Popular retired UFV therapy dog passes away

Mac the Therapy Dog consoled countless students and staff, as well as wildfire victims

Imagination Library Fraser Valley celebrating Christmas in July

Dolly Parton early literacy intiative looking for financial support to help with waitlist

Woman sexually assaulted, robbed near Surrey SkyTrain station: RCMP

Police say the incident happened July 10, just after 11 p.m. near King George SkyTrain station

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Once-in-a-lifetime comet photographed soaring over Abbotsford

Photographer Randy Small captures Comet NEOWISE in early-morning sky

Four-vehicle collision snarls eastbound highway traffic in Fraser Valley

Collision west of Lickman Road on Highway 1 includes three vehicles plus motorcycle

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Most Read