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Grandview Heights area to be sprayed for Lymantria moths in spring

Treatment to cover 108 hectares of land in South Surrey, provincial government says
An area of Grandview Heights will be spraye for Lymantria moths this spring. (Photo courtesy of Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations)

A large section of South Surrey’s Grandview Heights neighbourhood will be sprayed with “aerial-spray treatments” this spring, to prevent Lymantria months from becoming established in the area.

The announcement was made by the provincial government Thursday morning, with a news release noting that the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natures Resource Operations and Rural Development had applied for an amendment to an existing pesticide-use permit in March 2021 in order to properly deal with the Lymantria moth – formerly known as the ‘gypsy moth.’

In total, 108 hectares of land – ranging from near 164 Street at the westernmost edge to just shy of 176 Street in the east, and from a few blocks north of 32 Avenue to 28 Avenue – will be sprayed, the release notes.

Other communities that will be sprayed for the moth includes Burnaby, Mission, Chilliwack and Langley, as well as three areas of Vancouver Island.

Keeping Lymantria moths from becoming established is a priority due to the “risk they pose to forests, farms, orchards and urban trees.”

“Trapping and monitoring results from 2021 show evidence that Lymantria moth populations have increased dramatically in the areas slated for treatment this spring, likely because of outbreaks in Ontario and Quebec over the past three years,” the release reads.

“Egg masses are commonly transported to B.C. on recreational vehicles and outdoor household articles originating from affected areas outside of the province. If left untreated, the invasive Lymantria moths could spread to other areas of British Columbia.”

The government release also notes that the active ingredient in the pesticide that will be used – Bacillus thuringiensis var kurstaki (Btk) – “is naturally present in… forest soils throughout the province.”

“It only affects the stomachs of caterpillars, such as Lymantria moth caterpillars, and is specific to their digestive systems,” it continues. “Btk has been approved for the control of Lymantria moth larvae in Canada since 1961. It does not harm humans, mammals, birds, fish, plants, reptiles, amphibians, bees or other insects. It only affects Lymantria moth caterpillars after they ingest it.”

Residents in the planned spray area are invited to submit comments about this application to amend the existing pesticide use permit (refer to Permit No. 738-0032-21/24) for evaluation by the Integrated Pest Management Act administrator, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

Comments can be mailed to Suite 200-10470 152 St., Surrey, B.C., V3R 0Y3, by March 12.

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