City of Toronto to aerial spray for tree-damaging European Gypsy Moth to begin this week

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To protect the tree canopy and vulnerable trees from European Gypsy Moth infestation, the City of Toronto will implement the first round of its aerial spray program in Etobicoke on Thursday, May 28 between 5:30 and 7:30 a.m.

During the aerial spray, one twin-engine helicopter with an ultra-low-volume spray system will fly about 15 to 30 metres above the tree canopy in Ward 2 – Etobicoke Centre to apply a biological insecticide (described in detail below). The product must be applied directly to tree foliage, as Gypsy Moth caterpillars must feed on the treated leaves for the insecticide to be effective. Should weather conditions be less than optimal, the City will reschedule the aerial spray. A second round will be applied within days, but specific dates have yet to be determined. The spray area is located south of Eglinton Avenue West and west of Kipling Avenue, between Warrender Avenue and Princess Margaret

Boulevard. A map of the designated spray area is available at: cot-pfr2.maps.arcgis.com/apps/PublicInformation/index.html?appid=6edaae72c3744a6db8aea6625e3c8718.

Spraying is weather dependent and can only be initiated in the right conditions. As a result, specific spray dates are confirmed 48 hours in advance and can be cancelled if weather conditions change. Residents within the affected spray zone are encouraged to check for and subscribe to updates on the City's website at toronto.ca/gypsymoth or call 311.

The health and safety of Torontonians and the health of Toronto's environment, including the tree canopy, are key priorities for the City. No special precautions are required for residents in the spray zone. If people wish to avoid exposure, they can remain indoors during and immediately after the spraying. The City of Toronto used Foray 48B during its 2019 aerial spray program. The pesticide does not affect adult moths, butterflies, bees, fish, birds or mammals. This is a biological control made from a naturally occurring bacterium found on dead or decaying matter in the soil that poses minimal risk to human health and is approved by Health Canada for urban aerial use.

Technical description of the product:

The insecticide the City is using is called Foray 48B Biological Insecticide Aqueous Suspension, of which Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies kurstaki is the active ingredient (identified under Pest Control Products Act Registration Number: 24977 class 11).

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