A gypsy moth infestation centred on Cloverdale has prompted the province to apply to carry out aerial pesticide spraying next year of 4,856 hectares of land in Surrey and 204 hectares in Delta.
The targeted areas include most of Cloverdale from the Langley border between Highway 10 and 80 Avenue and extending as far west as 144 Street, taking in Sullivan and eastern Panorama Ridge.
The other spray area is east of Highway 91 between Highway 10 and Highway 99 in Delta as well as the southwest corner of Panorama Ridge in Surrey. (See maps below.)
Forests ministry officials say they intend to use Foray 48B, a pesticide that contains the bacteria Btk and kills caterpillars after they ingest it but doesn’t harm humans, mammals, birds, fish plants, reptiles, amphibians or other insects.
It’s approved for use on organic farms and would be used in four aerial applications between April 15 and June 30 next year.
Btk is naturally present in the soil in B.C. and has been approved in Canada to kill gypsy moth larvae since 1961.
The ministry says the destructive gypsy moth could, if not controlled, spread to other areas of B.C. via vehicles, containers, trains, port terminals and B.C. Ferries.
Residents have until Dec. 6 to comment on the application and can find more details at http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfp/gypsymoth/index.htm.
B.C. hasn’t sprayed to control gypsy moths since a 2010 infestation in Richmond.
The fuzzy leaf-munching caterpillars devour hundreds of types of shrubs and trees, threatening fruit and tree orchards, blueberry farms and Garry oak stands on Vancouver Island.
Nearly 200 male European gypsy moths were caught in pheromone traps over the summer in Cloverdale on trees along 64 Avenue.
B.C. is committed to keeping the gypsy moth from becoming entrenched in the province.
Failure to stop their advance could result in the U.S. tightening trade restrictions against Canada.
MAPS OF PROPOSED SPRAY AREAS
The hairy caterpillar of the European gypsy moth devours the vegetation of many types of trees and shrubs. Province of Ontario photo.