The first aerial-spraying treatment period to eradicate invasive gypsy moths from land around Elk Lake and Bear Hill Regional Park will take place May 15, weather permitting.
Three separate sets of treatments are required this spring. Spraying will be carried out by a fixed-wing aircraft, start shortly after sunrise (5:20 a.m.) and be completed by 7:30 a.m.
Unless delayed by poor weather, each treatment is expected to take one day to apply. The ministry is aiming to have the spraying completed by early June.
The spray area, 182 hectares of residences, park and farm land around Elk Lake in Saanich will be sprayed with Foray 48B which contains Bacillus thuringiensis var kurstaki (Btk), an ingredient that has been approved for the control of gypsy moth larvae in Canada since 1961.
Btk is naturally present in urban, forest and agricultural soil throughout the province. It does not harm humans, mammals, birds, fish, plants, reptiles, amphibians, bees or other insects and only affects caterpillars after they have ingested it.
The spray will be applied by a low-flying plane. Residents immediately next to the treatment area are likely to hear the aircraft at some point during the treatment. The spray equipment is GPS-calibrated and controlled, and spraying will occur only when the plane is immediately over the treatment area.
Poor weather or wind may cause treatments to be postponed with little advance notice. The Province will issue bulletins 24 hours before each treatment and provide up-to-date information at 1 866 917-5999 and online at: www.gov.bc.ca/gypsymoth.
The telephone line will be staffed during business hours and will provide up-to-date spray schedules and recorded information 24 hours-per-day.
Social media will be used to update the public on current spray operations. Follow #Gypsymoth on Twitter for these updates.
People who wish to minimize their exposure should remain indoors with their windows and doors closed during the spraying, and for at least 30 minutes after. Pets and livestock that may be frightened by the aircraft should be brought indoors. Items not to be sprayed should be covered or moved indoors.