How do you locate and identify spruce budworm populations?

Spruce budworm populations are estimated using several methods during surveys conducted by the New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources. Aerial defoliation surveys are used to locate defoliation in mid-July when the effects of budworm feeding cause trees to turn red. The areas are mapped to define the spatial distribution and severity (nil, light, moderate, severe classes) of defoliation. Spruce budworm moths are also trapped using either pheromone or light traps. This method is used to inform managers about the general level and annual trends of spruce budworm populations.

Another method is to count the larvae that are overwintering on tree branches. This method is used to estimate the level of the population that will cause defoliation in the stand the next spring. Scientists can monitor spruce budworm at all life cycle stages depending on what they want to know about the population.

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