An entomologist collects two female lymantria moths. (Black Press Media file photo)

An entomologist collects two female lymantria moths. (Black Press Media file photo)

Aerial spraying for invasive moth coming this month in 3 Vancouver Island locations

More than 1,500 hectares in Lake Cowichan, Nanaimo, View Royal will be sprayed

Starting this month, B.C.’s Ministry of Forests will spray more than a thousand hectares surrounding View Royal, Lake Cowichan and Nanaimo for the lymantria moth.

Fifty hectares in View Royal, 402 hectares in Lake Cowichan and more than 1,068 hectares in the Nanoose/Lantzville/Nanaimo area will receive four applications of the insecticide Foray 48B to combat the invasive moth species. This application will not change the certification of affected organic farms, B.C.’s Ministry of Forests said in a news release.

The aerial spraying is expected to be completed by early June.

The invasive moth species, formerly known as gypsy moths, are hazardous to food crops including apples and blueberries, and trees including Garry oak, arbutus, red alder, aspen, cottonwood, maple, orchard fruit trees and nut trees.

The population of the lymantria moth in the areas slated for spraying has increased drastically according to 2021 trapping and monitoring data from the province. Egg clusters are typically transported to B.C. on clothes and recreational vehicles from outside the province. Ontario and Quebec also saw moth outbreaks in the past three years, said the ministry.

Six areas of B.C.’s Lower Mainland, where an above-average number of male moths were trapped last year, will also receive spraying.

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