B.C. government plans to conduct moth spraying treatments on Vancouver Island

B.C. government plans to conduct moth spraying treatments on Vancouver Island
Male adult Lymantria moth's are brown, and the females are white, as shown in these images provided by the B.C. government.

The B.C. government plans to conduct aerial-spray treatments in View Royal, Nanoose Bay, and Cowichan Lake in the spring to prevent Lymantria moths from establishing in the areas.

In a release, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development says the moths pose a risk to forests, farms, orchards and urban trees.

In View Royal, the treatment will occur over 50 hectares south of Thetis Lake Regional Park and the Trans-Canada Highway.

The Nanoose Bay treatment will occur over 1,068 hectares south of Nanoose Bay to the northern boundary of the City of Nanaimo.

Cowichan Lake will receive the treatment over 402 hectares at the easternmost tip of the lake and part of the Town of Lake Cowichan.

These locations are in addition to five other locations in the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland.

Monitoring during last year’s program trapped 98 male moths in these eight areas, indicating that the moths could become established in those locations if the proposed pesticide spraying is not done, according to the ministry.

The government says it believes the increase in these moths may be due to outbreaks in Ontario and Quebec. It says it is likely travelling vehicles brought egg masses when coming back to the province.

The moths pose a particular risk to trees such as Garry oak, arbutus, red alder, aspen, cottonwood, maple, orchard fruit trees, nut trees, many species of urban ornamental trees, as well as food crops such as apples, blueberries and other fruits.

The ministry is planning as many as four applications of Foray 48B in the specified areas between April 15 and June 30, 2022, to control the moths. Foray 48B is used in organic farming and the active ingredient Bacillus thuringiensis var kurstaki (Btk) is naturally present in urban, agricultural and forest soils throughout the province.

Btk has been approved for the control of Lymantria moth larvae in Canada since 1961. It does not harm humans, mammals, birds, fish, plants, reptiles, amphibians, bees or other insects. It only affects Lymantria moth caterpillars after they ingest it.

Residents in the planned spray areas are invited to submit their comments about this application to amend the existing pesticide use permit (refer to Permit No. 738-0032-21/24) for evaluation by the Integrated Pest Management Act administrator, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, Suite 200-10470 152 St., Surrey, B.C. V3R 0Y3, by March 12, 2022.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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