The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development has applied for a pesticide-use permit to aerial-spray 94 hectares near Courtenay.
The spraying is intended to eradicate a growing population of gypsy moths and to minimize the risk they pose to forests, farms, orchards and trees.
Trapping and monitoring results over the past year indicate a growing gypsy moth population in the proposed treatment area, about 4 kilometres north of Courtenay along Highway 19A (Old Island Highway). If left untreated, the moth could spread to new areas of the province via vehicles, containers, rail and marine vessels.
The ministry is planning up to four applications of Foray 48B between April 15 and June 30, 2018, to control the moth. Foray 48B is used in organic farming and contains Bacillus thuringiensis var kurstaki (Btk). Btk has been approved for the control of gypsy moth larvae in Canada since 1961.
Btk is naturally present in urban, forest and agricultural soil throughout the province. It does not harm humans, mammals, birds, fish, plants, reptiles, amphibians, bees or other insects. It only affects caterpillars after they have ingested it.
Residents are invited to submit their comments on the application (refer to Permit No. 402-0673-18/18) for evaluation to the Integrated Pest Management Act administrator, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, 2080-A Labieux Road, Nanaimo, B.C., V9T 69J, by Jan. 10, 2018.
The gypsy moth is an introduced pest species. The caterpillars feed on tree leaves and can damage forests, farms and orchards. Large gypsy moth populations defoliated sections of forests and residential areas in Ontario and the eastern United States in recent years.
The moths are unintentionally brought to B.C. on vehicles and equipment from eastern North America. Infested locations are often subject to agriculture and transportation quarantines, and additional treatments including vehicle checks, product certification and increased pesticide use.
To learn more about gypsy moths, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/gypsymoth
or call toll-free: 1 866 917-5999
View the advertisement that was posted in the Comox Valley Record on Dec. 12, 2017, and find out how to see a copy of the permit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/environment/air-land-water/land/forest-health-docs/gypsy-moth-docs/comox_record_gypsy_moth_pesticide_use_permit_ad.pdf
For the treatment zone map, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/environment/air-land-water/land/forest-health-images/gypsy-moth-treatment-maps/2018_aerial_courtenay.jpg
The permit application and maps are also available at Courtenay City Hall, 830 Cliffe Ave.