Gypsy moth spray treatment planned for Surrey-Cloverdale, South Delta

Residents are invited to a March 3 open house at the Surrey Museum to find out more about the planned aerial spray plan.

A European gypsy moth caught in Surrey in 2014.

Residents are invited to an open house at the Surrey Museum Tuesday to learn more about an upcoming aerial pesticide spray program targeting a growing gypsy moth infestation centred in Cloverdale and an area in South Delta.

A pesticide use permit to aerial spray 4,576 hectares in Surrey and another 204 hectares in Delta has been issued to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

Between April 15 and June 30, the ministry is planning up to four applications of Foray 48B to control the moth.

The targeted areas include most of Cloverdale, from the Langley border between Highway 10 and 80 Avenue, and extending as far west as 144 Street, taking in Sullivan and eastern Panorama Ridge.

An additional 26-hectare ground spray will also be done on a rural property due south of the 172 Street and 56 Avenue intersection.

Foray 48B contains the bacteria Btk and kills caterpillars after they ingest it but doesn’t harm humans, mammals, birds, fish, plants, reptiles, amphibians or other insects.

It’s approved for use on organic farms.

Btk is naturally present in the soil in B.C., and has been approved in Canada to kill gypsy moth larvae since 1961.

Treatment dates are weather-dependent, and will be advertised closer to the first application date.

Each treatment application will be completed before 7:30 a.m.

The Forests Ministry is concerned about a growing gypsy moth infestation in the proposed treatment areas around 64 Avenue and 176 Street, between Highways 10, 99 and 91 in Delta.

Nearly 200 male European gypsy moths were caught in pheromone traps last summer in Cloverdale on trees along 64 Avenue.

If left untreated, the destructive moth could spread to new areas of the province by hitching a ride on vehicles, containers, trains, port terminals and B.C. Ferries.

The moth is an introduced pest species. The caterpillars feast on tree leaves and can damage forests, farms, and orchards.

Large gypsy moth populations have defoliated swaths of forests and residential areas in Ontario and the eastern U.S. in recent years, the ministry says.

For more information, call 1-866-917-5999 or www.gov.bc.ca/gypsymoth.

The open house is at the Surrey Museum, 17710 56A Avenue, Tuesday, March 3 from 3 to 8 p.m.http://webpapersadmin.bcnewsgroup.com/portals/uploads/cloverdale/.DIR288/2015Surrey.jpg