Targeting and Treating
As part of the early intervention strategy, researchers are studying several treatment options in areas that have low but rising budworm populations in mid to late June. Aerial applications of the control products being used usually occurs in June in the mornings and evenings.
In the New Brunswick study areas, scientists are having tebufenozide (Mimic) and Btk applied. Both products are approved for use in New Brunswick by Health Canada and the NB Department of Environment and Local Government. Studies have shown treatments of these products are effective against spruce budworm and pose minimal environmental risk. Spruce budworm is the only species being targeted by treatments. Neither product is harmful to humans or other mammals, bees, birds, or fish when used according to strict label conditions.
Tebufenozide and Btk can impact other Lepidoptera-like species that feed at the same times. So, to advance our understanding of these risks, we are also studying non-target impacts to monitor the short and longer term impact of treatments on moth and butterfly species within our research areas. It is worth noting that part of the interest in targeting low budworm population levels is to avoid having to treat outbreaks over large areas, and this approach will minimize the impact treatments could have on non-budworm caterpillars and natural enemies.
Pheromone flakes are also being used in the research. Pheromones occur naturally, they are unique to each insect, and they trigger behavioural changes in members of the same species. Pheromones pose no risk to humans or other animals. They are used to lure or attract insects to traps, and they can be used to disrupt mating cycles. Spruce budworm pheromones do not kill insects.