A plane is scheduled to spray a biological insecticide in Surrey’s Fraser Heights neighbourhood on the morning of Tuesday, May 5, with more to follow on Wednesday (May 6).
The date is announced on a B.C. government website that outlines plans to eradicate gypsy moths from three areas of the province, including a 241-acre area near Port Mann Bridge — north of 108th Avenue to Highway 17 (South Fraser Perimeter Road), west to Highway 1 and east to 162nd Street.
“The majority of the treatment area will be treated between 5:10 a.m. and 7:30 (a.m.) on May 5,” says an advisory. “Considering the flight path and time restrictions in place by Transport Canada and the Pesticide Use Permit, a small area in the center of the treatment block and the western edge of the treatment block will be treated on May 6th from 5:10 am – 6:00 am as they will not be completed on May 5th.”
The area was hand-sprayed in 2017 and 2018, and then aerially sprayed last spring. “It is now apparent that the treatments did not completely eradicate this infestation,” said a news release from the Ministry of Forests in December.
Now, a new round of aerial spraying is ready for takeoff.
The government advisory says planned spray dates are weather-dependent and can change under short notice. The spraying, conducted with a low-flying, fixed-wing plane, will take place in the early-morning hours, usually between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m.
There will be three “treatments” seven to 10 days apart.
“A fourth treatment may be required if one of the first three treatments are not fully completed due to weather or mechanical delays,” the website notes. “Foray 48B, a biological insecticide containing Btk as the active ingredient, will be applied. Btk occurs naturally in soil and is commonly used in organic agriculture.
“To avoid contact with the product (Foray 48B) stay indoors and keep your doors and windows closed during the spray treatment and for up to one hour after spraying is complete.”
Those with questions about the spraying are directed to the website gov.bc.ca/gypsymoth and the toll-free phone number 1-866-917-5999.
Trapping and monitoring results over the past several years, according to the December news release, show “clear evidence” that gypsy moth populations are becoming established in parts of North Surrey, Lake Cowichan and Castlegar. “If left untreated, the invasive moth could spread to new areas of the province via vehicles, containers, rail and marine vessels.”
The ministry says gypsy moths are an introduced pest species, and the caterpillars feed on tree leaves and can damage forests, farms and orchards. In recent years, large gypsy moth populations have defoliated sections of forests and residential areas in Ontario and the U.S.
The moths are unintentionally brought to B.C. on vehicles and equipment from eastern North America, the ministry says.
The B.C. government website says Surrey and Delta residents can help prevent the gypsy moth from establishing permanently “by inspecting your outdoor plant waste for egg masses and ensuring all green waste goes in your green bin.
“If you are a resident of Surrey and have large green waste items that do not fit inside your green waste bin, call the City of Surrey Waste Collection Hotline at 604-590-7289,” the website says.