The B.C. government plans to conduct aerial-spray treatments in the Courtenay area in spring 2021 to prevent gypsy moth populations from becoming established and to minimize the risk they pose to forests, farms, orchards and trees.
The 187-hectare treatment area is located around Highway 19A, between Rennison Road and Veterans Memorial Parkway.
Trapping and monitoring results over the past several years show clear evidence that gypsy moth populations are becoming established in the proposed treatment area. In 2018, a 94-hectare area within the 2021 project boundary was treated, but a residual population of gypsy moths survived just outside the treatment area.
If left untreated, this invasive moth could spread to other areas of the province by attaching its egg masses to vehicles and other goods and materials.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development has received a pesticide-use permit (Permit No. 738-0032-21/24) to aerial spray 187 hectares of agricultural, residential and commercial properties with a naturally occurring biological agent, Bacillus thuringiensis var kurstaki (Btk).
The ministry is planning up to four applications of Foray 48B between April 15 and June 30, 2021, to control the moth. Foray 48B is used in organic farming and contains Btk. It 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. It affects only gypsy moth caterpillars after they have ingested it.
- The gypsy moth is an introduced pest species. The caterpillars feed on leaves of over 300 species of trees and shrubs. They can damage forests, farms and orchards.
- Large gypsy moth populations have defoliated sections of forests and residential areas in Ontario and the eastern United States in recent years.
- These 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 1 866 917-5999, toll-free.
For information about the pesticide use permit or to see a map of the planned treatment area, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/forestry/managing-our-forest-resources/forest-health/invasive-forest-pests/gypsy-moth/news
The pesticide-use permit and map are also available for viewing at the Comox Valley Regional District office at 770 Harmston Ave., Courtenay, B.C. V9N 0G8.