Backgrounder: How you can help prevent the spread of invasive species


Small actions can make a big difference. Canadians can help protect plants by:

  • knowing about and reporting unusual insects, invasive plants or plant diseases to the CFIA through or social media or via apps like iNaturalist and EDDmaps
  • buying and burning only local or heat-treated firewood to reduce the spread of the emerald ash borer and other pests that hide in firewood
  • checking trees, campers, equipment and items stored outside to remove insects and egg masses
  • removing soil from footwear, gear and equipment before packing up so as not to move pests
  • encouraging kids to be plant health heroes through fun and interactive youth activity booklets
  • making sure that seeds, plants, plant products (whether decorative or for consumption) or organisms (for example, insects) they bring into Canada or send to other countries meet the import requirements of the destination country—the CFIA can help, check with the CFIA first
  • getting involved with the #PlantHealth and #PlantHealthDay conversations on social media to raise awareness about plant protection

Some of the CFIA's pests of concern include the following:

  • Emerald ash borer has spread to parts of five provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba) and has killed millions of ash trees across North America. If you see it outside of these provinces, report it to your local CFIA office.
  • Hemlock woolly adelgid is threatening hemlock trees in Nova Scotia and parts of Ontario. Survey activities for this pest are ongoing, and measures are in place to contain it. Report all sightings outside of British Columbia to the CFIA.
  • Oak wilt is established in the United States and is a risk to oak trees across Canada. Birds, storms or untreated firewood could potentially bring it to Canada. Report all sightings.
  • Spotted lanternfly is not known to exist in Canada but was added to the regulated pest list in 2018 in an effort to prevent its introduction from infested areas in the United States and elsewhere. Report all sightings.
  • Japanese beetle is established in most parts of the country where it can survive – but not British Columbia. The CFIA, the Cities of Vancouver and Burnaby and the Province of British Columbia are actively working to eradicate it so it doesn't become established there. Report suspected sightings in British Columbia to your local CFIA office.
  • Box tree moth was detected in Toronto in August 2018 by a citizen scientist. The CFIA is working with the Province of Ontario and other organizations to stop its spread. Report all sightings or any feeding damage on boxwood outside of the Greater Toronto Area and Niagara region.
  • Asian longhorned beetle was eradicated from the cities of Mississauga and Toronto in Ontario after five years of surveys with no detection of this plant pest. National detection surveys are ongoing, so report all sightings to your local CFIA office.
  • Spongy moth (Lymantria dispar dispar or LDD moth) is established in many areas east of the Manitoba–Ontario border. If you find it outside the regulated area, including in Newfoundland and Labrador or western Canada, report it to the CFIA.
  • Japanese stiltgrass grows and spreads quickly because it produces so many seeds. It was first reported in southern Ontario in 2019 and can dominate entire habitats and displace nesting sites for birds and other wildlife. If you spot it, report it to the CFIA.
  • Kudzu is one of the world's most invasive plants and was found in southern Ontario in 2009. It takes over quickly, reduces biodiversity and causes significant productivity losses to the forestry industry.
  • Learn more and get the full details on these invasive insects, plants and other plant pests.

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Marianne Dandurand
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Media Relations
Canadian Food Inspection Agency

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