From Director of Operations, Dave Friary:
This appears to be a very popular topic, so I wanted to ensure you had a sense of what staff have already done and our plans moving forward. Mr Rankin has provided a summary and hopefully some answers to your FAQ’s. Regarding the tape and pictures circulating on the internet, that is referred to as lantern fly tape and is much stickier and full of glue. In discussions with staff, we have not had an incident using a product such as duct tape or burlap .
- Staff have been acting proactively to engage and educate the public to get through this outbreak of Gypsy Moth.
- The City website has many resources and information on Gypsy Moth and our action plans to address this latest outbreak.
- The public can help protect their own trees, as well as the trees on boulevards by following the advice on the webpage, such as banding trees in May and June, burlapping trunks in July, scraping egg masses in August and generally watering and caring for the trees to keep them healthy and less impacted by the feeding caterpillars.
Population and/or Distribution Questions:
Gypsy moth is at a peak population across the province. Staff have population estimates of where the gypsy moth numbers are highest:
· Sunnidale Park and surrounding residential areas.
· Sandy Hollow and landfill area (and adjacent Letitia Heights)
· Ardagh Bluffs and adjacent Holly neighbourhood area
Staff will be surveying and monitoring populations throughout the year, no need to report gypsy moth sightings through Service Barrie.
What are we doing:
- May to June (current) – staff are banding trees with tape to prevent / capture young gypsy moth caterpillars in areas of high population and most vulnerable trees (Sunnidale Park,
- June – Injected treatment of TreeAzin on vulnerable oaks that were heavily defoliated in 2020 (Sunnidale Park, Arboretum, Vine Crescent
- August – Bioforest will be completing egg mass surveys to estimate 2022 populations and areas of risk – egg mass scraping of trees where possible.
What Residents can do to help (with their private and our boulevard trees):
- May- June: Residents can Band trees with tape as described on the City’s website.
- July: Residents can wrap lower trunk of trees with burlap to capture older caterpillars.
- August: Residents can scrape egg masses from the trees.
- Water your trees during the dry spells and provide tree fertilizer in spring and fall to keep them healthy.
- Details and instructions are available on our website, we are getting a lot of help from residents so far as we do not have the resources to do it all ourselves. Thank you to those residents who are lending a hand!
Aerial spraying of pesticide:
- One option for reducing populations that was considered by staff was aerial spray of Btk by contractor.
- Costs are $300-1,000 per hectare sprayed, in the order of hundreds of thousands of dollars to effectively reduce caterpillar numbers.
- Requires public consultation, permits, planning and procurement commencing months in advance of completing.
- Only effective if done before caterpillars grow to second instar of size (narrow time window in late May)
Risk to Trees:
- Gypsy moth usually has a 3-year cycle before populations crash due to natural pathogens in the environment (ie the higher population the faster virus kills it)
- Healthy trees can handle several years of defoliation from caterpillars, often species like Oaks resprout new leaves in August after the caterpillars cease feeding.
- This is the third major outbreak of Gypsy Moth in Barrie since 1990, the last in 2008, although it can look like the trees are going to die, most will survive unless some other stressor is impacting it.
Risk to People:
- Gypsy Moth Caterpillars can cause skin irritations from the hairs on their bodies.
- Please take care with not handling them or allowing them to crawl on your skin.
- When removing bands or burlap, use gloves and long sleeves.
- Refer to medical advice if you develop rashes.
Director of Operations
City of Barrie