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Burlington Monitoring Gypsy Moth Populations and Tree Health

Gypsy moth / City of Burlington photo
Gypsy moth / City of Burlington photo

*Please see below a media release issued by the City of Burlington.

Burlington, Ont. — May 20, 2020 — The City of Burlington is committed to protecting and promoting the health of trees. As part of Burlington’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program for Gypsy Moth, Forestry staff assess sites annually across the city and conduct egg mass surveys to determine areas that need action because the natural processes can no longer maintain pest population levels on their own.

In the winter of 2019/2020, surveys indicated 190 hectares that needed action (aerial spraying) to control the gypsy moth population. These areas are mostly located within naturalized, woodlot environments, that are not subjected to other stressors such as compacted soils, and inadequate access to water. These healthy trees can generally withstand defoliation several years in a row.

However, in April, as part of the Provincial Emergency Orders related to the COVID pandemic, applications of pesticides were removed as essential services. Given the nature of work related to an aerial application of a pesticide, additional permits from a provincial and federal level were required at that time. As a result, it was decided that the aerial program would need to be cancelled for 2020.

“Based on the Province’s decision to make pesticide spraying a non-essential service, it was decided to not proceed with an aerial spray program for 2020. Trees can generally withstand several years of defoliation from gypsy moth caterpillar before they are significantly impacted. Given the spray areas are predominantly located in naturalized areas, I am confident there will be no lasting damage by cancelling the aerial spraying this year. Creating a sticky band relatively easy way to manage gypsy moth on a tree by tree basis, and could be a good learning opportunity for families. Instructions for doing a sticky band can be found on burlington.ca/gypsymoth.”

The City of Burlington’s Forestry Department will be closely monitoring the gypsy moth populations and their impacts on Burlington’s trees for the remainder of the year.

Gypsy moth caterpillar / City of Burlington photo

If egg mass surveys exceed an action threshold again this year, a business case for funding and a plan of action will be created for 2021.

In 2019, the City completed aerial spraying in Lowville Park, LaSalle Park, Forestvale Park, Hidden Valley Park and Mountainside Park.

Residents concerned about gypsy moths in their private trees are encouraged to create a “sticky band” around the trunk. The sticky band prevents the caterpillars from climbing from the ground into the tree canopy.

How to create a Sticky Band

  1. Wrap a 10 to 15 cm wide strip of insulation or cotton batting around the trunk of the tree you are going to be banding, about 1.5 m (five feet) off the ground
  2. Cover the insulation or cotton with plastic wrap or a garbage bag. Allow several inches of plastic above and below the insulation
  3. Tape the plastic to the tree with duct tape or packing tape. Please do not use nails or staples to attach the plastic to the tree as this will injure the tree
  4. Spread a layer of a sticky substance, such as TanglefootTM or similar product as directed, on the plastic. This will make the gypsy moth caterpillars stick to the band
  5. Inspect the sticky material regularly and remove leaves and other debris and reapply sticky material if required
  6. Bands should be removed by late spring and reapplied in the fall. It is important to remove the bands to prevent damage or discoloration of the bark

About Gypsy Moth

European Gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar, is a non-native invasive pest that was introduced in the late 19th century. It was first discovered in Ontario in the 1960’s and has been a major defoliator of deciduous and coniferous trees across Southern Ontario.

Integrated Pest Management

As part of Burlington’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program, Forestry staff assess sites annually across the city and conduct egg mass surveys to determine areas that have exceeded an action threshold, whereby natural processes can no longer maintain pest population levels on their own. Although healthy trees can generally withstand defoliation several years in a row, trees which are already in distress from problems such as acute drought, compacted soils, diseases or other pests, may decline and die. Generally, healthy trees which are defoliated in spring, will leaf out again by mid-summer. Gypsy moth populations tend to be cyclical, with peaks every 8-12 years, followed by dramatic population decline of the pest.

For questions or concerns, please contact Steve Robinson, Manager of Urban Forestry at steve.robinson@burlington.ca or 905-333-6166, ext. 6167.

For more information, visit burlington.ca/gypsymoth.

PLEASE NOTE: To stay updated on what the City of Burlington is doing regarding COVID-19, please visit the dedicated pages burlington.ca/coronavirus (and subscribe) and bit.ly/mayormeedwardCOVID19updates, and our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page — bit.ly/COVID19BurlingtonFAQ that are updated as new information becomes available.

A Burlington COVID-19 Task Force has been created to help support our community through this unprecedented emergency — updates will be provided at burlington.ca/COVID19taskforce.

To report an incident of non-compliance with provincial emergency orders, please contact the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 Hotline: 905-825-4722.

We’ve also created a dedicated page to feature the local organizations and businesses that have inspired us during the COVID-19 pandemic by taking action to support our community in new and creative ways — head to bit.ly/covidwallofinspiration.

HELPFUL RESOURCES & RELATED LINKS:

*Posted by John Bkila, Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist

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