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Ottawa (AFP) April 5, 2013
Canada has eradicated the destructive Asian Long-Horned Beetle first detected in the Toronto area a decade ago after hitching a ride across the Pacific in wood packaging materials.
Nearly 30,000 infested and susceptible trees were removed from Toronto and nearby Vaughan where the beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) had been detected in 2003, in order to halt its spread.
"Today marks an important milestone in our fight against invasive pests," Agriculture Parliamentary Secretary Pierre Lemieux said in a statement.
Native to eastern China, Japan, and Korea, the Asian Long-Horned Beetle is said to be one of the most destructive non-native insects in North America, along with other wood-boring pests causing billions of dollars in annual damages.
It has also invaded several European countries.
In North America, tens of thousands of trees were chopped down and burned as part of eradication efforts started in the mid-1990s to prevent the beetle larvae's destruction of hardwood forests.
With the last sighting of the bug in Canada in late 2007, Ottawa also lifted restrictions on the movement of tree materials, including nursery stock, trees, logs, lumber, wood, and wood and bark chips from tree species susceptible to the Asian Long-horned Beetle, in previously affected areas.
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