THE Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations has been issued a pesticide use permit to aerial-spray 4,576 hectares in Surrey and 204 hectares in Delta, with a spray approved for use on organic farms, to eradicate a growing population of gypsy moth and minimize the risk they pose to forests, farms, orchards and trees.
An additional 26-hectare ground spray will be conducted on a rural property due south of the intersection of 172 Street and 56 Avenue in Surrey.
The ministry is planning up to four applications of Foray 48B between April 15 and June 30, 2015, to control the moth. Foray 48B has been approved for use on organic farms by the Organic Material Review Institute and contains Bacillus thuringiensis var kurstaki (Btk). Btk is naturally present in urban, forest and agricultural soil throughout the province. It has been approved for the control of gypsy moth larvae in Canada since 1961.
Local residents are invited to attend an open house, on the upcoming spray program, at Surrey Museum, 17710 56A Avenue, on Tuesday, March 3 from 3 to 8 p.m.
Btk 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 areas around 64 Avenue and 176 Street in Surrey and between Highways 10, 99 and 91 in Delta. If left untreated, the moth could spread to new areas of the province via vehicles, containers, rail, Deltaport, the Surrey Fraser Docks and Tsawwassen ferry terminal.
The permit application and maps are available at Surrey city hall, Delta city hall and online at http://www.gov.bc.ca/gypsymoth under “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 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 U.S. 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.