Icky bugs in Oakville; it’s finally feeling like summer is about to kick off.
And that means the town can begin battling the burgeoning cankerworm and gypsy moth caterpillar populations.
A tentative scheduled has been set and the aerial spray program is slated to begin on May 25.
Two treatments will be performed by helicopter within a few days of each other between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m.
If left untreated, gypsy moth and cankerworm have the potential of damaging 409,000 trees across our communities — that’s 23 per cent of the town’s tree canopy, according to Mayor Rob Burton.
No special precautions are required for residents near the spray areas, however some roads and woodlands will be closed briefly while the spraying takes place.
Please review our Frequently Asked Questions section for more information.
Residents with additional questions or concerns regarding the aerial spray program can contact [email protected] or 905-845-6601.
Gypsy moth and cankerworm populations are expected to reach extreme levels in Oakville this year.
Based on surveys conducted in 2017, 26 town woodlands were identified as high-risk areas that will likely experience serious tree defoliation and the potential loss of thousands of trees if no action is taken.
As a result, the town will be conducting an aerial spray of a biological insecticide to curb the populations in heavily infested woodlands.
The treatment is a naturally occurring soil bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki (Btk) that is poisonous to certain types of caterpillars when ingested but is not harmful to humans or other insects or animals.
The gypsy moth is a non-native insect that is considered a major pest in North America.
The larvae, or caterpillar stage, of this insect can potentially devour every leaf of a tree’s canopy.
Cankerworm (also known as inch worm) is a native insect whose population increases every 10-15 years.
They also feed on tree leaves and have a serious impact on tree health. After severe or repeated loss of leaves, trees can die or become so weakened that they are vulnerable to other pressures.
Town staff are currently working with other municipalities to coordinate a cooperative population control program.
Learn more about gypsy moths and cankerworms and the town’s control program.
Photo courtesy of the City of Toronto