• Carmen Marie Fabio

Rigaud warning residents about EAB door-to-door advertising


PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

An Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) trap hangs from a tree in Rigaud as the migration of the destructive insect continues its westerly direction after being detected in Montreal.

The City of Rigaud has issued a warning to its residents following a door-to-door campaign in which a private company is leaving leaflets at area homes advocating the treatment of ash trees against the invasive Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) insect that has been detected in the West Island and Vaudreuil-Soulanges regions.

The official-looking paper resembles a municipal-issued notice of infraction with the header, ‘Warning to residents’ and stating that inspectors carrying out a census in the neighbourhood found ash trees on homeowners’ properties where the leaflets were left.

“These are not municipal notices,” said Mayor Hans Gruenwald Jr. “We definitely do not approve these advertisings of any kind.”

The EAB is highly destructive and can kill untreated ash trees within two to three years after burrowing under the layer of bark and feeding on the vascular tissue that carries water and nutrients to the leaves in the upper canopy. It’s estimated the insect has killed over 100 million ash trees in North America since 2002. The City of Montreal announced in April that it would be spending $18 million to fight the insect as well as plant new trees. The insect that has no natural predators in this part of the world was first detected in the Municipalité régionale de comté Vaudreuil-Soulanges (MRC-VS) in 2015.

Gruenwald said the insect’s presence has been detected in Rigaud but unlike some other towns that are taking an aggressive stand against the insect by requiring treatment with insecticide, Rigaud is not currently requiring its residents to take immediate preventative measures. Gruenwald said the issue is complicated and ventured success is not guaranteed unless everybody takes the same course of action in treating their trees. “It’s like spraying for mosquitoes,” he said. “If the neighbour doesn’t do it, there’s no point.

“I can’t tell people what to do on their private property,” he continued. Even on public terrain, he said the town has not begun preventative treatments. “When it’s a clear-cut situation, we’ll act, most likely cutting the tree in order to prevent the disease from spreading.”

With the presence of Mont Rigaud’s vast canopy of trees, treatment whose prices can range from approximately $65 to $200 per tree annually, depending which insecticide is used, would be cost prohibitive. “If it was an issue of one tree on one property, I would have a different approach.”

Gruenwald is advising residents who suspect they may have an infected ash tree to hire a forestry expert to certify whether or not the tree is, indeed, infested with the insect.

For more information on the EAB, consult http://agrile.mrcvs.ca/accueil.

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