The province of B.C. is planning to use aerial spray treatments to prevent gypsy moths from establishing themselves in three regions of the province in 2020.

Gypsy moths are unintentionally brought to B.C. on vehicles and equipment from eastern North America, according to the provincial government. The caterpillars feed on tree leaves and can damage and defoliate forests, farms, and orchards.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development has applied for a permit to use pesticides to spray 241 hectares of residential and municipal parkland in North Surrey, 231 hectares in the center of the Lake Cowichan townsite and 167 hectares of semi-rural properties and wooded area north of Castlegar.

“Trapping and monitoring results over the past several years show clear evidence that gypsy moth populations are becoming established in the proposed treatment areas. If left untreated, the invasive moth could spread to new areas of the province via vehicles, containers, rail, and marine vessels,” the statement reads in part.

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