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Sprayings planned to eradicate invasive spongy moths in Greater Victoria

The moth’s caterpillars eat leaves of over 300 species of trees and shrubs
A large hoard of spongy moth caterpillar infest an oak tree limb. (Courtesy Davey Tree)

Aerial spray treatment spraying has been approved for Greater Victoria in an attempt to eradicate the invasive spongy moth and minimize the risk they pose to forests and farms.

Under the direction of the provincial Spongy Moth Technical Advisory Committee, 170 hectares in North Saanich, 120 hectares in the Gorge-Tillicum area, 31 hectares in Esquimalt and Victoria West and 430 hectares in Belmont will undergo the spray treatment.

According to a news release from the province, the insecticide used in the treatment is Foray 48B, which is used in organic farming, and it only affects moth and butterfly caterpillars once they have ingested it.

The province is planning three applications of the insecticide between late-April and mid-June, and they will occur seven to 10 days apart.

Spongy caterpillars feed on the leaves of over 300 species of trees and shrubs and they have “defoliated sections of forests and residential areas in Ontario and the eastern United States in recent years.”

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