Experts from Natural Resources Canada, Canada Forest Services, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada as well as others answered questions and provided information about the proposed gypsy moth spraying at an open house last week.
In February, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources and Rural Development announced that they would be spraying for gypsy moths over a three week period in the spring throughout a 45 hectare area around Rockland Rd and Alder St.
The invasive European gypsy moth was first seen in B.C. in 1978.
According to Lee Humble, a research entomologist with Natural Resources Canada, the moths first came to Canada via cargo ships from Europe.
Eggs were laid on goods and when the goods were transferred and sold the moths spread.
“They lay their eggs on anything,” Humble explained.
Though the female European gypsy moths cannot fly, they still manage to spread as they lay eggs in everything from tires to camp chairs.
“These things are very veracious eaters,” he said.
As an example of the damage the invasive species can do, right now in Oakville, Ont., town officials are planning aerial spraying in order to get rid of the gypsy moths as they stand to lose their oak trees after multiple years of defoliation, Humble said.
When Campbell River City Council was notified of the impending spraying it sent a letter to the ministry asking for clarification on how the communication strategy would come through before the spraying takes place.
The open house at the Sportsplex on April 10 was the ministry’s communication plan. Resident’s that will be affected were supposed to be informed about the event by a postcard in the mail.
In the meantime the Council of Canadians as well as the Campbell River Environmental Committee (CREC) voiced their opposition to spraying for gypsy moths.
Richard Hagensen of the Campbell River chapter of the Council of Canadians says in his letter, addressed to Minister of Environment George Heyman and forwarded to the city, that the proposed spraying “infringes on citizens’ property and democratic rights.”
“Over the last few years, regulations regarding these spraying programs have been loosened, permitting ground spraying of a dangerous biocide on people’s private property despite their objections,” Hagensen writes.
He also questions the government’s assertions about the lack of adverse health affects on humans and other non-targeted animals.
Leona Adams, president of CREC is also concerned about spraying the areas, even after talking to the experts at the information session.
“I still don’t buy that they can’t mass trap here first,” she said.
According to the Health Canada information distributed at the information session Btk, which is the bacteria in the spray applied to treat for gypsy moths, works only against a group of insects called lepidopterans which includesdestructive tree pests including gypsy moths.
The document continues to say that Btk poses little threat to human health.
“For Btk toxins to be activated, alkaline conditions that exist only in certain insect’s digestive systems must be present,” it reads.
For more information about gypsy moths and the application of Btk, you can find a link within this story at campbellrivermirror.com