Gypsy moth spraying begins

The first set of early morning aerial spray treatments via helicopter begin to combat invasive gypsy moth.

European gypsy moths caught in Surrey.

Residents of Cloverdale and parts of Surrey-Delta are being reminded that the first round of aerial spraying to combat the Gypsy moth has begun.

Wednesday was the first of four consecutive days of spraying planned for the target area – more than 4,500 hectares around 64 Avenue and 176 Street in Surrey, and 204 hectares between Highways 10, 99 and 91 in Delta.

Spraying by helicopter will continue to 18 between 5:20 and 7:30 a.m., weather permitting.

People living immediately next to the treatment area may hear a low-flying helicopter as turns around and re-aligns.

The area is being treated with Foray 48B to eradicate the introduced moth.

Organic farms treated with the product will not lose their certification, the Ministry of Forests said Tuesday in an announcement.

Poor weather or wind may force ministry officials to postpone the treatments to the next suitable morning.

There are two more sets of treatments to take place. Due to the early spring, staff hope to complete all spraying by mid-May.

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.

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

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.

For up-to-date schedule information, call 1-866-917-5999 or visit www.gov.bc.ca/gypsymoth.

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