Oakville to begin spraying in mid-May to control gypsy moth infestation
Things are about to get rough for gypsy moths in Oakville.
Beginning in May and early June, the Town will be conducting an aerial spray in 33 town woodlands with a “safe and naturally occurring” insecticide to control the moth (which is now being called LDD) infestation.
A population study done in 2021 found Oakville faces extreme levels of LDD moth infestation this year. The months could affect 358 hectares (885 acres) of town woodlands and result in a significant loss of trees if action isn’t taken.
Considered a major destructive pest in North America, the insects, at the larvae (or caterpillar stage), quickly eat large amounts Oak tree leaves and other leaves, devastating trees and forests.
When leaves are lost in successive years, trees can die.
“Protecting and preserving our tree canopy for future generations is one of Council’s top priorities,” said Oakville Mayor Rob Burton. “This year’s efforts will help protect our urban forest from these damaging invasive insects before they cause irreparable damage.”
Oakville will likely begin aerial spraying in mid-May when the LDD moth caterpillars have emerged and begin eating. A low-flying helicopter will spray the areas between 5 and 9 a.m.
Two treatments will be necessary within a few days of each other. Additional ground spraying may occur during the same period to target town trees adjacent to woodlands that have been identified as high-risk for LDD moth presence.
Aerial spray dates are highly dependent on weather conditions and may need to be postponed with little notice. Once dates are confirmed, they will be posted on oakville.ca and the town’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. Residents who live in the near vicinity of any of the town woodlands that will be treated can sign up on oakville.ca to receive 48-hour email notification of the spray.
The designated woodlands and trails will be closed temporarily during the spray and reopen immediately after. Aerial spraying will not take place over town streets or residential properties.
No special precautions are required for residents near the spray areas. Residents may wish to alter their early morning plans such as running or dog walking on spray days or, if preferred, remain indoors and close windows during the spraying. There may be some temporary noise associated with the low flying helicopter. There are no health concerns with entering the woodlands after trees have been sprayed.
Municipalities have successfully conducted aerial spray programs using the naturally occurring insecticide, Bacillus thuringiensis Kurstaki (Btk) for decades. It has replaced chemical insecticides in aerial spraying programs worldwide.
The use of BtK is approved by the Health Canada Pest Management Regulatory Agency and is permitted under Oakville’s pesticide-bylaw.
BtK has no negative environmental or human health effects. BtK is a bacteria which occurs naturally in soil. The bacteria is poisonous only to a certain group of insects when ingested during their larvae or caterpillar stage. BtK does not affect adult moths or butterflies or other beneficial insects such as honeybees, or pets, birds, fish, or mammals. Learn more about BtK on Health Canada’s Btk Fact Sheet and on Natural Resources Canada’s website.
The Town of Oakville says there might be some inconvenience on the mornings the aerial spray takes place and they appreciate your patience and cooperation.
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