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 Cowichan Valley Arts Council is offering courses in drawing May through August 2021. (Submitted)
A&E column: Art is everywhere in the Cowichan Valley

What’s going in the Cowichan Valley arts and entertainment community

The CVRD introduces new app to contact residents during emergencies, a tool that chairman Aaron Stone says will improve communications. (File photo)
CVRD launches new app to spread information during emergencies

Cowichan Alert is a free app that can be downloaded onto smartphones, computers

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

The Malahat SkyWalk will open to visitors in July 2021. (Malahat SkyWalk photo)
Malahat SkyWalk will open to visitors this July

Highly anticipated attraction will take guests 250m above sea level

FILE PHOTO
Editorial: Time to roll up our sleeves and pitch in

They’re just not quite sure they want to get a vaccine — yet

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent sails past a iceberg in Lancaster Sound, Friday, July 11, 2008. The federal government is expected to end nearly two years of mystery today and reveal its plan to build a new, long overdue heavy icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver, Quebec shipyards to each get new heavy icebreaker, cost remains a mystery

Vancouver’s Seaspan Shipyards and Quebec-based Chantier Davie will each build an icebreaker for the coast guard

Findings indicate a culture of racism, misogyny and bullying has gripped the game with 64 per cent of people involved saying players bully others outside of the rink. (Pixabay)
Misogyny, racism and bullying prevalent across Canadian youth hockey, survey finds

56% of youth hockey players and coaches say disrespect to women is a problem in Canada’s sport

Most Read