Canadian Forest Service Publications

The spruce budworm in Newfoundland: history, status and control. 1978. Otvos, I.S.; Moody, B.H. Fisheries and Environment Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Newfoundland Forest Research Centre, St. Johns, NF. Information Report N-X-150. 76 p.

Year: 1978

Issued by: Atlantic Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 5274

Language: English

Series: Information Report (St. John's - Newfoundland and Labrador)

Availability: Not available through the CFS (click for more information).

Mark record


Spruce budworm infestations on the Island have been recorded since 1942. Infestations prior to the present outbreak were small, lasted only a few years, and collapsed without causing significant damage. The collapse of these infestations was caused by natural factors such as weather, parasites, disease and starvation.

The present outbreak started in 1971, and is unprecendented in size and intensity; in 1977 it covered about 90% of the productive forests of the Island and caused an estimated 5 100 000 m3 of tree mortality. The impact of the budworm on the forest cannot be fully assessed at this time as the outbreak is in progress and trees will continue to die for at least 3 years after the outbreak has collapsed.

The biology and habits of the budworm in Newfoundland are similar to those in other areas of eastern North America except development in Newfoundland throughout the life cycle is delayed by 2-3 weeks and a much lower proportion of larvae mines the older needles. Among the natural control factors of the spruce budworm in Newfoundland probably weather is the most important. Other control factors such as parasites and predators alone have not been capable of terminating budworm outbreaks.

At the present time, the only effective way to reduce budworm defoliation and tree mortality over large areas is the aerial application of chemical insecticides. These do not eradicate the budworm but they reduce populations and keep the trees alive. However, chemical insecticides affect non-target organisms and they may also prolong the duration of outbreaks.

There are several promising alternative methods to chemical control, but none is available for operational use over large areas. The microbial insecticide Bacillus thuringiensis is the closest to being operationally feasible although additional work is needed to improve its effectiveness.

The spruce budworm is an integral part of our spruce-fir forest ecosystem and in the long run an integrated control approach appears the most promising. This may include the application of chemical insecticides to highly valuable stands, the salvage of damaged stands, the reduction of stands susceptibility to budworm by silvicultural methods and the application of other control methods as they become operationally feasible.