Population from Census 2015 - 68,556
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Bronze birch borer (Agrilus anxius Gory) larvae are flattened, creamy-white, legless grubs with light brown heads. Adults are slender, olive-green to black beetles with metallic bronze reflections.
This native beetle attacks both native white birch and European weeping birch. While its typical host tree would be mature birch trees 40 years or older, it will attack even young birch trees when population outbreaks occur.
Such an outbreak was triggered in Grande Prairie in the early 2000s by the onset of a drought cycle. The outbreak has not yet ended.
European cutleaf weeping birch have no resistance to this pest and are not recommended for planting in Grande Prairie. Paper birch, which evolved with the borer, have the ability to increase their sap pressure to push the beetle larvae out, so long as they remain well-watered. Unfortunately, due to the drought cycles that Grande Prairie experiences on a regular basis, the trees lose their ability to fend off the beetle and eventually die from its attacks as well.
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