In an effort to eradicate a growing population of gypsy moths and minimize the risks they pose to forests, farms, orchards and trees, 94 hectares near Courtenay are planned for an aerial spray beginning in early May until June 30, 2018.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development has been issued a pesticide-use permit to aerial spray, and is planning up to four applications of Foray 48B over the two-month time period to control the moth.
Foray 48B is used in organic farming. It 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 soils throughout the province. It does not harm humans, mammals, birds, fish, plants, reptiles, amphibians, bees or other insects, and only affects caterpillars after they have ingested it.
Trapping and monitoring results over the past year indicate a growing gypsy moth population in the proposed treatment area, about four kilometres north of Courtenay along Highway 19A (Old Island Highway).
If left untreated, the moth could spread to new areas of the province through vehicles, containers, rail cars and marine vessels. It could lead to quarantines, which would impact agricultural and horticultural businesses in the area.
The permit application and maps are available at Courtenay City Hall and online: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/forestry/managing-our-forest-resources/forest-health/forest-pests/invasive-forest-pests/gypsy-moth/news
Treatment dates are weather-dependent, and will be advertised closer to the first application date. Each treatment application will be completed before 7:30 a.m.
The gypsy moth is an introduced pest species. The caterpillars feed on the leaves of trees and shrubs and can damage forests, farms and orchards. Recurring gypsy moth outbreaks have defoliated large sections of forests and residential areas in Ontario, Quebec and the Eastern United States in recent years.
Learn more about gypsy moths: www.gov.bc.ca/gypsymoth
Or, call toll-free: 1 866 917-5999.
Multilingual health information is available by calling the BC NurseLine at: 811
Chief medical health officer Dr. Richard Stanwick discusses gypsy moth spray-treatment programs: https://youtu.be/FzTSmsxkJtc