- Associated Press - Sunday, December 13, 2015

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Maine officials say a steady rise in the numbers of spruce budworm caught in traps along the Canadian border is cause for concern in the forest industry.

State entomologists say the defoliating insect has the potential for an outbreak over vast regions of commercially valuable spruce-fit forests. They say Quebec’s infestation encompasses 15.6 million acres, and the pest has spread south onto the Gaspe Peninsula and toward Maine.

State Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Walt Whitcomb says his agency has been tracking the budworm by expanding the program used to determine its potential spread and impact. He says the agency is also working closely with stakeholders on a plan to minimize damage to forests if a major outbreak does occur.

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