Council to wage war on beetles

BATHURST Regional Council is set to start its $40,000 war on the tiny beetles that are destroying the city’s elm trees.

Elm leaf beetles were first found in Machattie Park’s elm trees in autumn 2015 but it was an explosion in numbers in autumn 2016 that prompted council to act.

The elm leaf beetle feeds on leaves and the presence of both adults and larvae together can cause severe defoliation of elms.

Now council has confirmed it will treat selected trees within the Bathurst CBD as part of an elm leaf beetle control program which is being introduced to control future outbreaks of the beetle.

Several hundred elm trees within a two kilometre radius of the Bathurst CBD, post office and Howick Street will benefit from a stem injection treatment to protect against damage and defoliation that is caused by elm leaf beetle.

Mayor Gary Rush said council noticed a significant infestation of the elm leaf beetle earlier this year in many of Bathurst’s elm trees.

“It is anticipated that a continued large scale outbreak will occur later this year as we move into the spring and summer months,” Cr Rush said.

“As a result, council has commenced an ongoing elm leaf beetle control program within Bathurst to help protect the city’s elms.

“The program will include the treatment of trees within road reserves, parks and other land owned by council.

“A single treatment is anticipated to provide protection to treated trees for up to three years.”

Property owners are also urged to take action to help council beat the beetles

“Council also encourages property owners with elm trees to seek the services of professional companies, who can advise on suitable control options,” Cr Rush said.

“This will also help to reduce the population of the elm leaf beetle throughout Bathurst.”

The tree injection method is the most environmentally friendly approach to controlling the elm leaf beetle delivering pesticide directly into the tree.

Elm trees within the Bathurst region will require ongoing monitoring and treatment to ensure effective control of the beetle.

Councillors voted in August to set aside $40,000 to fund the elm beetle eradication program, with extra money to be set aside in future budgets for ongoing management.

The work on the first round of treatments to kill the beetles is scheduled to start later this month.