With some Vancouver Island forests at risk from an invasive winged insect, treatments are being planned in a few east Island cities.
The treatments planned in the spring will be done by the Ministry of Forests to combat spongy moths and will involve the use of biological insecticide Foray 48B. The province says it is used in organic farming and has been used since 1961 to control the moth species.
The active ingredient, bacillus thuringiensis var kurstaki (Btk) is natural in soils throughout the province and will be used to target the moths, according to the government. The moths, formerly known as gypsy moths, are an invasive species that have defoliated sections of forests in Ontario and the eastern United States.
The ministry says if the moths become permanently established in B.C., trees such as the Garry oak, arbutus, red alder, aspen, cottonwood, maple, orchard fruit trees, nut trees and many species of urban ornamental trees will be affected.
Local pollinators that rely on these trees face increased competition from spongy moths and caterpillars for resources. Agriculture also faces increased risk because of the moths.
2022 saw an increase in the number of moths detected over the past two to three years.
Treatments will be done in Courtenay and Campbell River between April 1 and June 30.