Town of Oakville conducting aerial spray application to control gypsy moth infestation

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Published May 3, 2021 at 3:44 pm

In an attempt to combat the damaging effects of gypsy moths in Oakville, the town will be aerial spraying in 15 of its woodlands 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 on trees, the town is diligent when it comes to tracking their populations as well as new outbreaks.

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.

According to data from population surveys conducted in 2020, the Town of Oakville faces extreme levels of gypsy moth infestation in 2021 that could affect 102 hectares, (equivalent to 252 acres ) of town woodlands.

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

As a result, the town will be conducting an aerial spray of a biological insecticide to curb the populations in 15 town woodlands this month 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.

Two treatments will be performed by helicopter within a few days of each other between May 1 and June 15, 2021, weather permitting, from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.

Dates and more specific details will be posted here as they become available.

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

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