Low-flying aircraft to spray for gypsy moths in one area of Surrey starting in May

Near Highway 1, ‘ground sprays were not effective’ in 2017 and 2018, government says

Surrey’s gypsy moth aerial spray treatment will begin on May 1.

That Wednesday, weather permitting, will see the launch of aerial-spraying treatment to eradicate invasive gypsy moths from 62 hectares of residential and municipal park land in North Surrey.

Program details are included in a provincial government release Thursday (April 18).

The spraying will occur close to Highway 1, near Port Mann Bridge.

“This is the same area that was ground (hand) sprayed in 2017 and 2018. It is now apparent that the ground sprays were not effective, likely due to limited site access,” says the release.

“Three separate sets of treatments are required this spring. Spraying will be carried out by a fixed-wing aircraft. It will start shortly after sunrise (5:20 a.m.) and be completed by 7:30 a.m. daily.

“Unless delayed by poor weather, each treatment is expected to take one morning to apply. The ministry is aiming to have the spraying completed by mid-June.”

• RELATED STORY: Open house planned ahead of gypsy moth aerial spray in Surrey

The spray area will be treated with Foray 48B, which contains bacillus thuringiensis var kurstaki (Btk). Btk is an ingredient that has been approved for the control of gypsy moth larvae in Canada since 1961, according to program organizers.

“Foray 48B and other Btk formulations received certification for acceptable use on certified organic farms by the Organic Materials Review Institute of Canada in April 2018.

“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 and affects caterpillars only after they have ingested it.”

The spray will be applied by a low-flying plane. Residents immediately next to the treatment area are likely to hear the aircraft at some point during the treatment. “The spray equipment is GPS-calibrated and controlled. Spraying will occur only when the plane is immediately over the treatment area.”

Poor weather or wind may cause treatments to be postponed “with little advance notice,” the release says.

In a video posted to Youtube, Dr. Richard Stanwick, the province’s chief medical health officer, discusses gypsy moth spray-treatment programs.

The Province will issue bulletins 24 hours before each treatment and provide current information by phone, at 1-866-917-5999, and online at gov.bc.ca/gypsymoth.

”The telephone line will be staffed during business hours and will provide up-to-date spray schedules and recorded information 24 hours-per-day. Social media will be used to update the public on current spray operations. Follow #Gypsymoth on Twitter for these updates.

CLICK HERE to subscribe to the province’s Gypsy Moth email distribution list.

“Anyone wishing to minimize contact with the spray material may choose to remain indoors with their windows and doors closed during the spraying, and for at least 30 minutes after.

“Pets and livestock that may be frightened by the aircraft should be brought indoors. Items not to be sprayed can be covered or moved indoors.”

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