Mississauga Forestry staff asks committee for $3M to combat gypsy moths this coming spring

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Published November 29, 2021 at 7:32 pm

Forestry staff in Mississauga are pushing the city to spray-bomb their forests in an effort to stop gypsy moth infestations.

They appeared before the city’s Budget Committee today (November 29) to ask for $3 million as part of a wider pest management program to target gypsy moths in affected areas of the city and protect Mississauga’s tree canopy.

Gypsy moths are a non-native and invasive pest that destroys trees by eating away at the leaves, which weakens trees and can lead to disease.

In 2018, the City had a similar Aerial Spray Program which helped slow the gypsy moth population for about two years.

However, the outbreak in Mississauga continues and within the last year, gypsy moth populations have risen in many areas of the city as well as across southern Ontario.

“Protecting Mississauga’s tree canopy and the environment is more important than ever. Trees play such a critical role in helping fight climate change, especially in urban areas like Mississauga,” Jodi Robillos, City Commissioner of Community Services, told the Budget Committee.

“We need to ensure our trees, forests and greenspaces remain healthy today and into the future. An Aerial Spray Program will target public and privately-owned trees so that our neighbourhoods can continue to remain green and vibrant.”

Stefan Szczepanski, the City’s acting Director of Parks, Forestry and Environment, told the committee that Mississauga experienced high population levels of gypsy moths and that “Forestry staff worked quickly to identify areas of the city at greatest risk. The data we received helped us predict how much defoliation can occur in 2022 when (gypsy moth) caterpillars emerge in the spring.”

“The results showed that 64 per cent of surveyed parks will have severe defoliation due to a large and healthy (gypsy moth) population.”

The report for a recommended Aerial Spray Program in 2022 will go to Council on December 8 for final approval.

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