Aerial-spray gypsy moth treatments slated to begin near Courtenay this month

Aerial-spray gypsy moth treatments slated to begin near Courtenay this month
Genome B.C.

The B.C. government is advising Vancouver Island residents, living in the Courtenay area, that aerial-spray gypsy moth treatments are slated to begin during the month of May.

The treatments are intended to prevent the gypsy moth populations from becoming established in the area while minimizing the risk they pose to forests, farms, orchards and trees.

The area to be treated is a 187-hectare space located around Highway 19A, between Rennison Road and Veterans Memorial Parkway.

The government says that the first aerial spray is scheduled for the week of May 10, 2021, however, it is dependent on weather conditions.

“The gypsy moth is destructive to native and urban forests, as well as orchards,” reads a statement from the government. “If these pests are not treated, they could spread to other parts of the province and put hundreds of species of trees and shrubs at risk, including in endangered Garry oak ecosystems.”

According to the Province, there will be up to four separate aerial treatments between mid-May and mid-June.

Each spray will occur seven to 10 days apart.

The treatments will be applied during the morning hours by a small, low-flying aircraft, beginning shortly after sunrise and wrapping up by approximately 8:30 a.m. Each treatment will take one morning to complete.

“The affected area will be treated with Foray 48B, which contains Bacillus thuringiensis var kurstaki (Btk),” continues the government. “Btk is a biological insecticide that occurs naturally in soil and has been approved for the control of gypsy moth larvae in Canada since 1961. Foray 48B and other Btk formulations were certified for use on organic farms by the Organic Materials Review Institute of Canada in April 2018.”

The government points out that Btk is effective in eradicating gypsy moths since it only impacts caterpillars that eat sprayed leaves. The spray does not harm humans, livestock, plants, pets, other mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, spiders, bees, ladybugs or other insects.

The government is advising residents within the treatment area that they will likely hear the aircraft carrying out the treatment.

Pet or livestock owners are being advised that animals may be frightened by the low-flying aircraft and should be secured or brought indoors.

Anyone wishing to minimize contact with the spray may choose to remain indoors with their windows and doors closed during the treatments, and for at least 30 minutes after the flight has been completed.

Graham CoxGraham Cox

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