May 15, 2018 4:40 pm
Updated: May 15, 2018 4:44 pm

Regina’s award-winning ‘The Buzz on Bugs’ campaign to focus on preventing Dutch elm disease

Russell Eirich, Regina's manager of forestry, pest control and horitculture shows Global's camera crew an example of Dutch elm disease

Stewart Manhas

Last year, the City of Regina released 300,000 ladybugs in Victoria Park as part of their campaign ‘The Buzz on Bugs’ as an environmental method to control aphids. This year, they are shifting their award-winning ‘Buzz on Bugs’ campaign to focus on the prevention of Dutch elm disease.

READ MORE: City of Regina releases 300k ladybugs to fight aphids

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On May 15, Global crews spoke with Russell Eirich, the city’s manager of forestry, pest control and horticulture, who is reminding residents that elm wood is illegal across the province, and is commonly brought in from areas like the Qu’Appelle Valley, Buffalo Pound and Last Mountain Lake.

“When you go to the Qu’Appelle Valley, or you go to Buffalo Pound, or Last Mountain Lake, any of those places… Dutch elm disease is really rampant through those areas, so please do not bring elm wood back from the cottage or back from the campground. Leave it out there.”

Eirich confirmed that any illegal elm wood found will be confiscated by either the provincial ministry or by a local municipal inspector.

“Elm firewood is illegal, and actually harbours Dutch elm disease and it’s a breeding ground for elm bark beetles, and we don’t want to be importing that into town,” Eirich said.

READ MORE: Regina has first case of Dutch elm disease

Regina lost 10 trees in 2017 as a result of Dutch elm disease. City officials are reminding everyone that there is much more to managing the disease than just removing a tree once the disease has been identified.

Eirich said in order to confirm whether elm wood contains Dutch elm disease, it needs to be sent to a lab where they take bark chippings and begin the testing process.

“You can’t tell it’s infected unless it goes to a lab, so what they’ll do is they take bark chippings, and they put that onto a petri dish.”

With that being said, Eirich said people can still look for signs of diseased elm wood, which are things like roots going deep inside the elm wood, plus grey, tanned or cream markings in the wood.

READ MORE: Elm tree pruning ban in Saskatchewan starts April 1

“If you look at the bark from the cut face, you will see the bark has a nice sort of brown, tanned appearance, but what you will notice inside elm wood is that it’s got these alternating tanned and cream colours, and that’s the dead giveaway of what is an elm log,” said Eirich.

On April 30, the City of Regina announced they won a national public relations award for their media relations campaign, The Buzz on Bugs, focusing in on the 2017 release of 300,000 ladybugs at Victoria Park.

READ MORE: New program to help Sask. producers deal with threats from agricultural pests

The ‘Campaign of the Year’ award will be received by the city’s communications and customer experience department at the Canadian Public Relations Society’s annual conference in Charlottetown on May 28.

The Buzz on Bugs campaign was created in partnership with parks & open space to better manage media interest in all things pests, forestry and horticulture during the summer months.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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