City of Burlington conducting aerial spray application to control gypsy moth infestation


Published May 10, 2021 at 2:28 pm

In an attempt to combat the damaging effects of gypsy moths in Burlington, the City will be aerial spraying in its wooded areas this month.

The gypsy moth is a non-native insect that is considered a major pest in North America. Due to the damage they can cause to trees, the city is diligent when it comes to taking action against them.

These insects have pupated and laid their eggs by the summer months, which is why management actions need to be taken ahead of time. The larvae, or caterpillar stage, of this insect, can potentially devour every leaf of a tree’s canopy.

This could result in a significant loss of trees if no action is taken.

As a result, the city will be conducting an aerial spray of a biological insecticide to curb the populations in four of its wooded areas when the young caterpillars begin emerging.

The treatment is a naturally occurring soil bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki (Btk) that is poisonous to certain types of caterpillars when ingested but is not harmful to humans or other insects or animals.

The spray program will be performed over two days by helicopter between May 10 and June 10, 2021. The exact dates and times will be dependent on weather conditions and the development of the insect.

“We need to take action to reduce the gypsy moth population in order to maintain the health of our valuable urban forest. Currently, populations are expected to be too high for their natural predators to keep them in check,” said Steve Robinson, Manager of Urban Forestry.

“By applying a biological pesticide with a measured approach, we will be able to reduce pest populations to manageable levels. Protecting our urban forests is a priority for the City as it greatly impacts our health, homes and recreation.”

For more information on the city’s aerial spray program and how to take action to help stop gypsy moths from harming trees, click here.

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