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British Colombia crops threatened by Chafer beetle

Staff writer |
British Colombia Ministry of Agriculture scientist, Tracy Hueppelsheuser, is concerned that Chafer beetles could affect crops in the Fraser Valley and beyond.

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Ontario root crops like potatoes and ginseng are under threat, as are blueberries; all of which are also grown in B.C.

Hueppelsheuser says people need to manage the bugs at home so fears of crop damage don't become a reality.

"We're very concerned. European chafer has wreaked havoc in eastern North America from its initial spread in New York State, and it has caused damage in forage crops and cereal crops, particularly winter cereals, as well as being an issue with nursery crops as well," Hueppelsheuser told The Early Edition guest host Stephen Quinn.

Hueppelsheuser says even a single pregnant female, if it hitches a ride on a truck, for instance, could start an entirely new infestation somewhere far from where it started.

Farmers have a few options when it comes to handling the pests, such as crop rotation and pesticides, but "just not having the pest would be the best solution," Hueppelsheuser said.

She says homeowners can be part of the solution, even if they live in a municipality that doesn't allow cosmetic pesticides. A strategy that some are finding successful is seeding existing turf with grass species that resist beetle grubs.

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