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Areas of Vancouver Island being sprayed to control invasive moths

Foray 48B to be used to control Lymantria moths starting mid April, says B.C. forest ministry
An entomologist collects two female Lymantria moths. (Washington State Department of Agriculture)

Areas near Victoria, Nanaimo and Cowichan Lake will be sprayed in the spring and summer to prevent infestation of invasive moths, says the B.C. government.

In a press release issued Thursday, Feb. 10, the province’s ministry of forests announced that 50 hectares south of Thetis Lake Regional Parks in View Royal, near Victoria; 1,068 hectares south of Nanoose Bay to the northern tip of City of Nanaimo and 402 hectares in the Cowichan Lake area, from the eastern point of the lake and part of the Town of Lake Cowichan will be sprayed for the Lymantria moth, previously known as the gypsy moth.

Four applications of Foray 48B will used, said the ministry, between April 15 and June 30. It is “used in organic farming and the active ingredient Bacillus thuringiensis var kurstaki (Btk) is naturally present in urban, agricultural and forest soils throughout the province,” said the press release.

The pesticide only affects the stomachs of the caterpillars and focuses on their digestive systems, the press release said, and does not affect humans, animals, birds or insects.

Monitoring last year revealed evidence the moth populations have increased in the specified areas, “likely because of outbreaks in Ontario and Quebec over the past three years,” stated the press release. If not treated, it could lead to the moths spreading across the province threatening forests, orchards and urban trees, the press release said, with potential for damage to arbutus, maple, orchard fruit trees and apple and blueberry crops.

People in affected areas can submit feedback on the application to amend the existing pesticide use permit by mailing the integrated pest management act administrator by March 12 at Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, Suite 200-10470 152 St., Surrey, B.C., V3R 0Y3, referencing Permit No. 738-0032-21/24.

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