Final round of gypsy moth spraying set for Sunday

Residents of Cloverdale, and other parts of Surrey and Delta are reminded aerial spraying to resume May 10, weather permitting.

Gypsy moth caterpillar. Nearly 200 male European gypsy moths were caught in pheromone traps last summer in Cloverdale on trees along 64 Avenue.

Residents of Cloverdale and parts of Surrey and Delta are being reminded the final round of aerial gypsy moth spraying is scheduled to begin bright and early Sunday morning.

Weather permitting, spraying by low-flying helicopter will be conducted May 10 to May 13, between the hours of 5 and 7:30 a.m., the B.C. Forests Ministry has announced.

The treatment agent, Foray 48B, contains Btk, which is toxic to gypsy moth larvae. It is not toxic to humans, or other mammals, plants, birds, fish, honeybees or other beneficial insects.

More than 4,500 hectares in Surrey – centred around 64 Avenue and 176 Street in Cloverdale – and another 200 in Delta are being treated as part of a B.C. Forest Ministry plan to combat the invasive moth, which is destructive to forests, orchards, farms and urban trees.

The first two rounds – conducted mid-to-late April – caught some people by surprise.

Other residents questioned the safety of the treatment agent, including a man who started a Facebook Page, launched an online petition, and held a protest outside local MLA Stephanie Cadieux’s office.

While there were a number of unconfirmed reports of residents reporting symptoms associated with the spray program, Fraser Health was aware of just one incident where an individual went to the hospital as a precaution.

A May 1 advisory from the ministry says as a general precaution, people who want to reduce their exposure should remain indoors with windows and doors closed during spraying, and for at least 30 minutes after.

It also says anyone with health conditions who are concerned to contact their health care provider. Residents may also contact HealthLink BC, available 24 hours a day, by dialing 811.

“The results of two extensive public-health monitoring studies in Vancouver and Victoria (1992 and 1999) did not show any increase in illnesses seen by health-care providers or in hospital emergency-room visits due to spraying,” the advisory states. “As well, the monitoring has not shown evidence of harmful effects on children with asthma or those with weakened immune systems.”

For up-to-date information, call the Gypsy Moth 24-hour info line: 1-866-917-5999 or visit the Gypsy Moth in British Columbia website at www.gov.bc.ca/gypsymoth.

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