Toronto's Planning To Aerial Spray Trees This Weekend To Stop Gypsy Moths From Taking Over

"No special precautions are required for residents in the spray zones."

Toronto Staff Writer
Spongy moth.

Spongy moth.

The City of Toronto is getting ready to spray away Toronto's pesky spongy moths this weekend.

In a news release posted on May 20, the city announced that they would be starting the first rounds of its aerial spray program in multiple areas, anticipating seeing "high populations" of LDD moths, also known as spongy moths or European gypsy moths.

According to the city, these areas are expected to see "outbreak levels" of spongy moth populations and will be sprayed in order to "protect the tree canopy" within the areas. The city will be doing a second spray 3 to 10 days after the first.

Spongy moths are an invasive species and can damage trees by creating "severe leaf loss," which can make them "weak and susceptible to diseases and weather fluctuations."

Unfortunately, the species is too established in North America to be eradicated, according to the press release, but it can be managed.

The aerial spray will be dispersed by "three twin-engine helicopters with an ultra-low-volume spray system" that will fly 15 to 30 meters above the canopy of the trees "to apply biological, naturally occurring insecticide."

The insecticide will coat the tree's leaves and get the job done once the spongy moth caterpillars get hungry for lunch.

"The insecticides that will be applied are not toxic to birds, humans, other mammals, adult moths, butterflies, bees and other insects and are approved by Health Canada for urban aerial use," according to the city of Toronto.

The spray is set to take place in High Park on Saturday, May 28 and in various wards in the city, starting with "6, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 21 on May 29," according to the city's website. A "second round of spraying will take place in wards 19, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25 and parts of ward 16 on May 30."

The spray is weather dependent, and residents in the area don't need to take any "special precautions" during or after.

If you're curious to see if you're in the spray zone, you can check the city of Toronto's Interactive Treatment Map.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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