European gypsy moths (note the feather-like antennae) are an invasive species in North America, but the province is attempting to keep them from getting a foothold in B.C. by spraying for the moths in various parts of the province, including Lake Cowichan. (Photo by Marian Goldsmith/Used Under Common License)

European gypsy moths (note the feather-like antennae) are an invasive species in North America, but the province is attempting to keep them from getting a foothold in B.C. by spraying for the moths in various parts of the province, including Lake Cowichan. (Photo by Marian Goldsmith/Used Under Common License)

Aerial spraying planned to prevent gyspy moth problem at Lake Cowichan

Invasive insects can travel widely, and cause significant damage: province

The province plans to spray 231 hectares of central Lake Cowichan in 2020 to prevent a gyspy moth infestation.

The area is one of three chosen by the provincial Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development to do aerial spray applications next year; the others are 241 ha of residential and municipal parkland in North Surrey, and 167 ha of semi-rural properties and wooded areas north of Castlegar.

According to a release from the ministry, the spraying program is “to prevent gypsy moth populations from becoming established and minimize the risk they pose to forests, farms, orchards and trees.”

Trapping and monitoring results over the past several years “show clear evidence that gypsy moth populations are becoming established in the proposed treatment areas. If left untreated, the invasive moth could spread to new areas of the province via vehicles, containers, rail and marine vessels,” the release continues.

The ministry is planning up to four applications of Foray 48B between April 15 and June 30, 2020, to control the moth.

What is Foray 48B?

“Foray 48B is used in organic farming and contains bacillus thuringiensis var kurstaki (Btk). Btk has been approved for the control of gypsy moth larvae in Canada since 1961. Btk is naturally present in urban, forest and agricultural soil throughout the province. It does not harm humans, mammals, birds, fish, plants, reptiles, amphibians, bees or other insects. It only affects caterpillars after they have ingested it,” the ministry says.

Residents are invited to submit their comments on the application (refer to Permit No. 56055-738-0030-20/23) for evaluation to the Integrated Pest Management Act administrator, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, Suite 200-10470 152 St., Surrey, B.C., V3R 0Y3, by Jan. 17, 2020.

The gypsy moth is an introduced pest species.

The caterpillars feed on tree leaves and can damage forests, farms and orchards. Large gypsy moth populations defoliated sections of forests and residential areas in Ontario and the eastern United States in recent years.

The moths are unintentionally brought to B.C. on vehicles and equipment from eastern North America. Infested locations are often subject to agriculture and transportation quarantines, and additional treatments including vehicle checks, product certification and increased pesticide use.

Lake Cowichan Mayor Rod Peters was interested when he talked about the announcement on Thursday.

“I’ve seen something about that when I looked through my email. I don’t know anything about it yet,” he said.

“I know it has to be done but I don’t know how bad it is for people really. I don’t know much about that. I have to get staff investigating that.”

To learn more about gypsy moths, visit www.gov.bc.ca/gypsymoth or call toll-free 1-866-917-5999.

For information about the permit application and to view a map of the treatment zone, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/forestry/managing-our-forest-resources/forest-health/invasive-forest-pests/gypsy-moth/news

The permit application and map is also available at Lake Cowichan Town Hall at 39 S. Shore Rd.

According to the Government of Canada webpage about the critters, “Gypsy moths are destructive pests. They get their name from their ability to travel by attaching to various objects. They appear in late July or August. Males are greyish brown and can fly and survive about one week, mating with several different females. Females are larger and whitish with darker zigzag marks. The female cannot fly and dies shortly after laying her eggs.

“Gypsy moth caterpillars’ (larvae) change looks as they grow. Young caterpillars are black or brown and about .6 cm (.24 inches) in length. As they grow, bumps develop along their backs with coarse black hairs. The caterpillar is easily recognizable in the later part of this stage: charcoal grey with a double row of five blue and six red dots on its back. Feeding ends by early July, and mature caterpillars can be as long as 6.35 cm (2.5 inches).”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Regional District of Nanaimo faces challenges with garbage bin replacement requests. (Michael Briones photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo faces challenges to meet requests for garbage bin replacements

Waste manager says RDN will have a surplus of 100-litre carts

Members of the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. set up the tube where rainbow trout were released into Spider Lake on Thursday, March 4, 2021. (Michael Briones photo)
Fishing time: 1,800 rainbow trout released into Spider Lake

Society records spike in fishing licences during pandemic

A map showing where the new developments for affordable housing will be located on Moilliet Street in Parksville. (submitted photo)
Parksville city council approves development permit for 87 housing units

Development to include four-storey apartment and eight townhouses

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Most Read