Aerial-spray treatments are slated for spring in the Courtenay area to prevent gypsy moth populations from becoming established. File photo

Aerial-spray treatments are slated for spring in the Courtenay area to prevent gypsy moth populations from becoming established. File photo

Permit issued for gypsy moth treatments in Courtenay area

The B.C. government plans to conduct aerial-spray treatments in the Courtenay area in spring 2021 to prevent gypsy moth populations from becoming established, and to minimize the risk they pose to forests, farms, orchards and trees.

The 187-hectare treatment area is located around Highway 19A, between Rennison Road and Veterans Memorial Parkway.

Trapping and monitoring results over the past several years show clear evidence that gypsy moth populations are becoming established in the proposed treatment area. In 2018, a 94-hectare area within the 2021 project boundary was treated, but a residual population of gypsy moths survived just outside the treatment area.

If left untreated, this invasive moth could spread to other areas of the province by attaching its egg masses to vehicles, and other goods and materials.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development has received a pesticide-use permit to aerial spray 187 hectares of agricultural, residential and commercial properties with a naturally occurring biological agent, Bacillus thuringiensis var kurstaki (Btk).

The ministry is planning up to four applications of Foray 48B between April 15 and June 30 to control the moth. Foray 48B is used in organic farming and contains Btk. It has been approved for the control of gypsy moth larvae in Canada since 1961. Btk is naturally present in urban, forest and agricultural soils throughout the province. It does not harm humans, mammals, birds, fish, plants, reptiles, amphibians, bees or other insects. It affects only gypsy moth caterpillars after they have ingested it.

FMI: www.gov.bc.ca/gypsymoth, or call 1-866-917-5999.