Local residents living around five city parks were likely awakened Thursday by the roaring sound of a low-flying helicopter being used as part of an city initiative to combat the European gypsy moth.

The invasive species was dealt an early morning strike as the chopper, hovering around 15 to 30 metres above the trees, sprayed a biopesticide over London’s Crestwood Woods, Fairmont Park, Grand View Park, Griffith Street Park, and Somerset Woods between 5:30 and 6:30 a.m.

The timing of the spraying, the first the city has done since 2009, comes as roughly 90 per cent of gypsy moth eggs are expected to have hatched in the city, according to a map released by city hall from consultant BioForest.

“We’ve been monitoring the conditions over the last few weeks as far as the development of the pest… and also the development of the foliage of the trees,” said Jill-Anne Spence, the city’s manager of urban forestry.

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