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Gypsy moth control begins Friday, city lists precautions residents in spray zone can take

Journal Staff Aerial spraying for gypsy moths will begin on Friday, May 29, between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m., City Hall said today.
European gypsy moth caterpillar.

Journal Staff

Aerial spraying for gypsy moths will begin on Friday, May 29, between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m., City Hall said today.

Residents can expect to hear the loud noise of a Zimmer Air Services twin-engine helicopter as it sprays a 64-hectare (150-acre) area of north Sarnia with a biological insecticide.

Road closures should be expected, the city said.

If weather conditions aren’t right the low-level spraying will not occur, and the city will update its website and social media pages.

The four target areas includes Canatara Park and Lake Chipican Drive, Oak Acres Park, Lakeshore Road east of Modeland, and Colborne Road north of Michigan, south of Cathcart, and east to Errol Road and Ridgewood Drive.

Sarnia forestry manager Patti Ross said members of the public are unlikely to experience any health effects, and no special precautions are necessary or required.

Individuals who have concerns can take precautions to avoid exposure during the application period, she said.

They include the following:

* Remain indoors for 30 minutes after spraying to allow for the droplets to deposit onto the tree leaves.

* Bring laundry, toys and pets indoors before spraying begins.

* Practice good personal and food hygiene (e.g., hand washing after outdoor activities, especially after gardening; leaving outdoor shoes at the door; washing all fruits and vegetables before eating or cooking).

* Cover lawn furniture, outdoor tables, pools, barbecues, play equipment and sandboxes, or rinse them with water after spraying is finished.

* Minimize opening and closing windows and doors during the spraying.

* Shut off heating/cooling vents or selecting the recirculate setting.

* Contact your family physician if you are concerned that a personal medical condition may be aggravated by the spraying.

The spraying is necessary to control gypsy moths, an invasive species whose caterpillars can quickly defoliate trees.

The caterpillars attacked pockets of the urban forest last summer, and a repeat could permanently damage the trees, the city said.

A second spray application will take place five to 10 days after the first spray, weather permitting.

The helicopter will apply the biological pesticide Foray 48B Biological Insecticide Aqueous Suspension.

The active ingredient is Bacillus thuringiensis v. kurstaki (Btk), Registration No.24977 under the Pest Control Products Act (Canada).

The bacterium is found naturally in soil and has successfully been used for 30 years as a pest control agent on woods and agricultural crops, the city says.

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