North Surrey gypsy moth aerial spray treatment begins May 5

Male gypsy moth

THE first aerial-spraying treatment to eradicate invasive gypsy moths from 241 hectares of residential and municipal park land in the Fraser Heights neighbourhood of Surrey will occur in the first week of May, weather permitting.

Female gypsy moth

The gypsy moth is destructive to native and urban forests and orchards. Without treatment, it could spread to other parts of the province and put hundreds of species of trees and shrubs at risk, including in endangered Garry oak ecosystems.

The spraying will be located north of 108th Avenue to Highway 17 (South Fraser Perimeter Road), west to Highway 401 and east to 162nd Street.

Up to four separate treatments are required this spring. Spraying will be carried out by a fixed-wing aircraft. It will start shortly after sunrise (approximately 5:40 a.m.) and should be completed by 7:30 a.m. daily.

Unless delayed by poor weather, each treatment is expected to take one to two mornings to apply. The ministry aims to complete the spraying by mid-June.

The 241-hectare spray area will be treated with Foray 48B, which contains Bacillus thuringiensis var kurstaki (Btk). Btk is an organic, natural agent that has been approved for the control of gypsy moth larvae in Canada since 1961.

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 within and adjacent to the treatment area will likely 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.

For program updates, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/gypsymoth

Individuals subscribed to the gypsy moth listserv (automated email updates) will receive program updates. The telephone line will be staffed during business hours and will provide up-to-date spray schedules and recorded information 24 hours a day.

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

Pets and livestock that may be frightened by the aircraft should be secured or brought indoors.

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