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Winnipeg Forest Watch



The Winnipeg Forest Watch surveillance program is designed to educate volunteers in neighbourhoods throughout Winnipeg on identifying the symptoms and damage associated with invasive insect species. Volunteers will also learn how to properly identify these species such as European elm bark beetle, Asian long-horned beetle and emerald ash borer. This information will then be recorded and relayed to Trees Winnipeg and partnering agencies, which will aid in a city-wide forest management program. Volunteers will act as first line of defense against these species and also help to spread vital information about these invasive species to the rest of their communities.

Winnipeg’s urban forest consists of about eight million trees; dominated by native species such as American elm, ash, maples, birch and many others. This urban forest is a diverse environment of both native and ornamental plant species. Over the last few decades, increases in global trade and travel have introduced foreign insects to urban areas throughout Canada; pests to which our native tree species have little or no resistance. Despite the invasion of Dutch elm disease across the continent, Winnipeg has managed to retain over half of its native elm population making its success in managing Dutch elm disease a model for other North American cities.

In the past Winnipeg’s urban forest management programs have been successful because of a high degree of public awareness and involvement in tree health surveillance. Our goal is to reintroduce a city-wide surveillance program to engage Winnipeg residents in the identification and early-detection of invasive insects that threaten the urban forest; thus aiding municipal and government agencies in managing and abating the spread of these organisms and protecting urban trees.


We are looking for volunteers to join our team and keep an eye on trees in their area. Surveys are completed in June and August and routes are custom-made to be close to your home. All the training, field guides, and materials you need are provided free of charge as part of our Winnipeg Forest Watch kit – all we need is your time and enthusiasm!

We offer free training workshops to our volunteers every spring – you can join, or just come to hear more about it!

Email us to sign up for our Winnipeg Forest Watch notification list, or check our website for the latest news, events, and workshops!


These five invasive species are considered a threat to the ecological, economic, and aesthetic value of our urban forest.

Emerald Ash BorerName: Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis)

Guilty of: Killing millions of Ash trees across southwestern Ontario, Quebec, Michigan, and surrounding states. The Emerald Ash Borer larvae tunnel through the tree leaving behind S-shaped galleries which can lead to the death of the tree. It has seen spotted as far inland as St.Paul Minnesota indicating that it is moving west.

For more information visit:

Female Gypsy MothName: Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar)

Guilty of: Invading North America from Eurasian regions most likely by hitching a ride on export ships and cargo. Once here the moths lay eggs which hatch into larvae that aggressively feed on a wide variety of deciduous and coniferous trees.

For more information visit:

Asian Long-Horned BeetleName: Asian Long-horned Beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis)

Guilty of: Destroying a large variety of hardwood tree species in Ontario and certain parts of the United States. The beetle larvae do the most damage as they tunnel and feed underneath the bark of the tree. As they mature they move deeper within the tree which can disrupt sap flow and disrupt the structural integretity of the tree.

For more information visit:

Banded Elm Bark BeetleName: Banded Elm Bark Beetle (Scolytus schevyrewi)

Guilty of: Causing the destruction of elm trees by colonizing in drought stressed trees and laying their eggs in the bark. The resulting larvae will tunnel under the bark of the trees thus causing great stress to the tree. The beetle may also possibly be a carrier of the fungus that causes Dutch Elm Disease. The beetle has been found in 21 states and western Canada.

For more information visit:
Photo: Pest and Diseases Image Library,

European Elm Bark BeetleName: European Elm Bark Beetle (Scolytus multistriatus)

Guilty of: Killing millions of elm trees by spreading the fungus (Ophiostoma ulmi) that causes Dutch elm disease.

For more information visit:
Photo: Gerald J. Lenhard, Louiana State Univ,

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