A study led in part by scientists at the University of Sault Ste. Marie (Canada) indicates that invasive species can withstand cold weather that exceeds even the harshest temperatures in Canada.

A new study shows that the emerald ash gimlet can withstand temperatures as low as -50°C after scientists studied the tracks of a beetle found in Winnipeg in 2016.

“We were surprised that the insects were actually there because, according to our research, they should not have survived,” said Amanda Rowe, a scientist at the Great Lakes Forestry Center.

“We have seen this adaptability in native species, but we have never seen such adaptability in invasive species before. This is really important because a lot of our risk assessment for our forests is based on these limits,” the scientist added.

The insect has already caused significant damage in southern Ontario and some other regions in the north, where temperatures rarely drop to -40 ° C – -50 ° C. Now scientists fear that the emerald ash gimlet may have a detrimental effect on western Canada as well.

“Of course, we thought that western Canada was one of those places that we thought was free of such risk. We have a lot of work to do to try to understand and do something about these risks in order to try to save these trees,” said researcher Chris McQuarrie.

In places like Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Calgary, there are many ash trees that can be affected by the existence of the emerald ash gimlet. Rowe said the scientists’ next step will be to develop an approach that recognizes how beetles prepare for cold weather.