The city of Mississauga will be launching an aerial spray program that will help save tree canopies by killing insects that cause harm to the city’s flora. The spray program will start soon and mainly help control the growth and reproduction of caterpillars that feed on various trees.
Moth larvae have been a major cause of tree canopy thinning in the immediate area. In an effort to save trees in the city, low-flying helicopters will fly in the early hours of the day to release a spray formula that will lower caterpillar populations. The first scheduled spray went out last May 15, 2022, and will continue across multiple intervals for another month or so.
This government program has been marked as necessary as the insects that feed on the leaves have been known to disrupt the ecological balance in the region. The moth larvae of what was formerly called the Gypsy Moth (now called the Spongy Moth or LDD Moth) mostly feed on the leaves of trees, which could cause the whole tree to die out at a rapid rate. By releasing this spray, the city of Mississauga hopes to slow down or even stop the rising decay of the city’s trees.
The program hopes to save many variants of trees, including maple, oak, elm, ash, poplar, willow, and birch trees among many others.
For those worried about the contents of the spray, it should be noted that the mixture is dangerous only to the moth in the spotlight and will not harm people nor the far majority of animals and creatures in the area. The spray material is called Foray 48B, and mainly contains Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies kurstaki (Btk), a naturally occurring bacteria that kills the larvae.
Btk also does not kill adult moths and butterflies, meaning there will be no major disruption to the species as a whole. The Btk mixture has already been approved for use by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency even before use. A total of 2,100 hectares will be sprayed with this agent.