• Gypsy moths caterpillars are causing the forests of Toronto to be blanketed in web structures
  • A video depicting the canopy shows what looks like Halloween decorations 
  • The city has began spraying the areas which are most vulnerable

Toronto is in a sticky situation, literally, after experiencing a recent infestation of caterpillar webbing in a forest in the area. The caterpillars are the young of gypsy moths that have been plaguing the city since May.

The city indicates that gypsy moths are an invasive species of an insect whose caterpillars feed mostly on the leaves of particular tree species like oak. The heightened loss of leaves due to their feeding can make the trees weak and vulnerable to plant diseases as well as extreme weather. If the situation is not attended, then it can mean the loss of swaths of forest.

As a response, the city has commissioned rounds of aerial sprays in May. The spraying targeted gypsy moths to protect the canopy and other trees from similar infestation.

Images taken from a helicopter depicted the webs along the Humber River. The filmer said it appeared like someone had put up Halloween decorations.

According to the Daily Hive, during the aerial spray, the city planned for a twin-engine helicopter with an ultra-low volume spray system to fly at 15 to 30 meters above the tree canopy. The payload was a biological insecticide.

The product would then be applied directly to the foliage considering the Gypsy Moth caterpillars have to feed on the treated leaves for the pesticide to work.

The aerial spray also targeted some high-risk areas in Ward 2-Etobicoke Center as there are dense and mature oak tree communities.

The city indicated that they would be using Foray 48B Biological Insecticide Aqueous Suspension. The active ingredient in the agent is Bacillus Thuringiensis subspecies Kurstaki, as identified under Pest Control Products Act Registration Number: 24977 Class 11.

The pesticide is a biological control and does not affect other butterflies, bees, fish, birds or mammals. Thus, the safety standards have been adhered to.

Moth Pixabay