A staff scientist at Science North isn’t sure if there will be a spruce budworm infestation next year, but says we’re due.

Recent predictions of a moderate to severe infestation in northern Ontario may not materialize, Jenny Fortier said.

The spruce budworm feeds on new growth on trees and can cause substantial damage — and outbreaks of the pest are cyclical.

“The peak of the last outbreak was 1975, so we are at that 40 year-mark,” Fortier said.

“We can predict that we are due for another outbreak.”

A spokesperson with the Ontario Forest Industry Association said collection of aerial data is ongoing and it isn’t yet clear how the bugs will affect the forest next year.

Outbreaks can be a concern to the forestry industry, Fortier added.

“For a tree generally to die because of spruce bud worm feeding, it needs to be attacked a few years in a row generally.”