Several London, Ont. Green spaces targeted for aerial pesticide spraying – London

Several local green spaces, including Springbank Park and the Thames Valley Golf Course, will be subject to aerial pesticide spraying towards the end of May as city officials seek to protect trees in London, Ont. , against spongy moths.

Formerly known as European gypsy moths, gypsy moths wreak havoc on trees, but they haven’t always required the intervention of aerial spraying.

Last year marked the first time in over a decade that city officials carried out aerial spraying in London.

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“Based on the data we are collecting, this shows that many of our parks will once again experience significant defoliation,” said London Urban Forestry Officer Jill-Anne Spence.

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“The tree can tolerate some defoliation for a few years, but the amount of defoliation we see is between 80 and 100%, so this is an effort to ensure that we protect these tree assets and all the benefits they provide.”

Spence says there have been record numbers of gypsy moths seen in London and across Ontario.

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Southern Ontario braces for another gypsy moth outbreak

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Every eight to ten years, the population of gypsy moths will build up in the environment along with natural controls, such as natural predators and pathogens, causing the population to crash approximately three years before infestation n reaches its peak.

“What’s unique about this infestation is just the significant amount of defoliation we’re seeing,” Spence added.

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According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, gypsy moths caused the defoliation of 586,385 hectares across Ontario in 2020.

Last year, that number increased by nearly 1.8 million hectares.

Also in 2021, defoliation caused by gypsy moths was found to be most severe in forest stands containing oak, maple, poplar, willow, and other hardwood species.

A map that displays gypsy moth damage in 2021 (represented by shaded areas) and defoliation predictions for 2022 (represented by dots).

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Spence says Londoners can also take matters into their own hands if they fear trees in their own backyards will be chewed up by the destructive pest.

One method of prevention is to scrape the egg masses, which look like quarter-sized tan spots, from the trees in soapy water. Burlap barrier strips can also be used to collect caterpillars as they move up and down the tree trunk. Year-round trapping tips are available on the city’s website.

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Spence says it’s also extremely important not to move firewood, especially from where there are gypsy moths to where there aren’t.

“Not just gypsy moths, but also things like the emerald ash borer, the Asian longhorned beetle – it’s a way for these pests to travel very far and fast, more than if left to their own devices. “said Spence. .

As for the upcoming sprays, they will target Springbank Park, Fairmont Park, Somerset Woods, Forest Hill Woods and Thames Valley Golf Course.

The timing of the first spray depends on weather conditions, but should take place between May 23 and May 28, with a second spray taking place seven to 10 days later.

The confirmed spray date will be posted on the city’s Get Involved website 48 hours in advance.

— with files by Matthew Trevithick of Global

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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