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Invasive spongy moth spraying planned for Vancouver Island, Salt Spring Island

January 12, 2024 at 2:12 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

The Ministry of Forests will conduct aerial-spray treatments on Vancouver Island and Salt Spring Island in spring 2024 to eradicate spongy moths and minimize the risk they pose to forests, farms, orchards and trees.

Under the direction of the B.C. Plant Protection Advisory Council’s Spongy Moth Technical Advisory Committee, the ministry plans to safely treat the following areas in the Vancouver Island and Southern Gulf Islands region:

  • North Saanich: 170 hectares
  • Greater Victoria: (Gorge-Tillicum: 120 hectares; Esquimalt: 31 hectares; and Belmont: 430 hectares)
  • Cowichan Bay: 126 hectares
  • Nanaimo: 130 hectares
  • Qualicum Beach: 96 hectares
  • Salt Spring Island: 48 hectares

Invasive spongy moths (also known as Lymantria moths and formerly known as gypsy moths) pose a risk to B.C.’s ecosystems and economy. Spongy moth caterpillars feed on tree leaves. In recent years, they have defoliated sections of forests and residential areas in Ontario and the eastern United States. Untreated spongy moths risk spreading to other areas of B.C. and are a threat to urban forests and farms.

The biological insecticide used for treatment is Foray 48B. 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. It only affects the stomachs of moth and butterfly caterpillars, and is specific to their digestive systems. The treatment has been approved for the control of spongy moth larvae in Canada since 1961.

A person wanting to contribute information about the treatment sites for the evaluation of the permit applications must send copies of the information to both the applicant and administrator under the Integrated Pest Management Act by Feb. 21, 2024.

Applicant: 
British Columbia Ministry of Forests
Suite 200, 10470-152nd St.
Surrey, B.C. V3R 0Y3
or by email: [email protected]

and

Administrator:
Administrator under the Integrated Pest Management Act
Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
Suite 200, 10470-152 St.
Surrey, B.C. V3R 0Y3
or by email: [email protected]

Learn More:

To learn about spongy moths, call: 1 866 917-5999, toll-free, or visit: https://www.gov.bc.ca/spongymoth

For information about the pesticide-use permit application or to see a map of planned treatment areas, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/spongy-news 

The pesticide-use permit application and treatment area maps are also available for viewing at the city or municipal hall, and on the website of the affected community.

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