LDD moth infestation at ‘outbreak’ levels, city of Toronto to start spraying from the air next week

The City of Toronto says the LDD (Lymantria dispar dispar) moth is at “outbreak levels” in parts of the city and plans to use three helicopters starting next week to spray them in different neighborhoods.

A second spray is then performed three to ten days after the first application.

The city says the moth (formerly known as the European gypsy moth) is “an invasive, defoliating insect that feeds on a variety of tree species. … The severe leaf loss caused by these insects can leave trees weak and susceptible to diseases and weather fluctuations. Left untreated, that pressure can lead to the loss of public and private trees.”

During the aerial spraying, the city says, three twin-engine helicopters with an ultra-low volume spray system will fly between 15 and 30 meters above the canopy to apply biological, naturally occurring insecticides.

“The products must be applied directly to the foliage of trees, as LDD moth caterpillars must feed on the treated leaves for the insecticides to be effective,” according to the May 20 City News.

Spraying is weather dependent and can only be started under the right conditions. As a result, specific spray dates will be confirmed 48 hours in advance and may be canceled if weather conditions change. Spraying takes place between 5.00 am and 8.30 am

Residents within the affected spray zone are encouraged to check for and subscribe to e-updates on the city’s LLD-mot web page at www.toronto.ca/lddmoth, by calling 311 or calling 311’s social media accounts. to follow the city.

No special precautions are required for residents of the spray areas, but those wishing to avoid exposure can remain indoors during and immediately after spraying. The insecticides that the city says will be applied have been approved by Health Canada for aerial use in the city and are non-toxic to birds, humans, other mammals, adult moths, butterflies, bees and other insects.

Several neighborhoods will receive aerial applications of the Foray 48B (Btk) product, which the city says is “made from a naturally occurring bacteria found on dead or decaying matter in the soil.” The following boroughs will be included: York Centre, Don Valley West, Don Valley East, Don Valley North, Willowdale, Beaches-East York, Scarborough Southwest, Scarborough Centre, Scarborough-Agincourt, Scarborough North, Scarborough-Guildwood and Scarborough-Rouge Park .

Another product – BoVir (LdMNPV) – is sprayed in Parkdale-High Park, specifically above High Park. According to the city, BoVir is highly specific to LDD moth caterpillars and will be applied in High Park to avoid potential impacts on sensitive non-target moth and butterfly species unique to the park’s habitat.

The city says populations of LDD moths have increased and have moved to new areas of Toronto and other parts of Ontario. The city says that while it has less intensive interventions at its disposal, such as injecting trees, removing egg mass and watering the soil, “these methods alone will not effectively control or reduce the population in the identified risk areas.”

More information about the city’s 2022 aerial spray program, including the public announcement of pesticide use, an interactive map and the subscription portal for e-updates, is available at www.toronto.ca/lddmoth.

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