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May 9, 2013
City of Toronto plans aerial spray to control European Gypsy Moth population
Toronto is currently dealing with an infestation of the European Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar). Infestation levels have reached a point where manual control methods, such as egg scraping, sticky traps, and ground spraying of pesticides, are no longer effective in controlling the Gypsy Moth population.

The City of Toronto is planning an aerial pesticide spray application using Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies kurstaki (Btk) - (Product name: Foray 48B - Biological Insecticide Pest Control Product (PCP) Act Registration Number 24977) to control Gypsy Moth outbreak populations and to help protect trees from dying. This biological insecticide contains naturally occurring bacterium found on dead or decaying matter in the soil. Btk, when used as directed and sprayed by air, is not considered a health risk to humans.

The Gypsy Moth is a defoliating insect that is considered a major pest in North America. The caterpillar, or larvae stage of the insect, eats the leaves of trees, making the trees more susceptible to disease and damage from other insects or weather related factors. Btk does not affect adult moths and butterflies, other insects, honeybees, fish, birds or mammals. It kills young caterpillars that are present at the time of spray. Through aerial spraying, Btk will be applied to the foliage of the trees and the caterpillars must feed on the treated leaves for it to be effective.

The spraying will take place from May 21 to June 11 in infested areas across the city. Spraying will take place between 5 a.m. and 7:30 a.m.

The areas that will be sprayed are:
Princess Margaret Boulevard and Kipling Avenue
Thorncrest Road
The Kingsway and Edenbridge Drive
Valecrest Road and North Drive
Herne Hill
Royal York Road and The Kingsway
Moore Park
Tam O’Shanter Golf Course
Humber Valley Golf Course
Cherry Beach Park
Toronto Island Park

Spraying is dependent on weather and will only be done in the right conditions. As a result, specific spray dates are chosen 48 hours in advance, and can be cancelled if weather conditions change. Residents within the affected spray zones are encouraged to check for updates by checking the City's website at or by calling 311 or if calling from outside Toronto, 1-855-551-5150.

A two-engine helicopter with an ultra low volume spray system will fly about 15 to 30 metres above the tree tops and will spray Btk. Local road closures will be in effect during the aerial spraying to minimize any potential risks associated with the low flying helicopter. Notification signs will be posted along local roads to announce the closures.

The health and safety of residents and the health of the environment are top priorities for the City of Toronto. Health Canada affirms that the Btk pesticide is not linked to any significant health risks from either direct or indirect (i.e. spraying) contact with the product. No special precautions are required for residents in the spray zone. However, if you wish to avoid exposure to Btk, remain indoors during and immediately after the spraying. Residents can also cover patio furniture or outdoor playing areas prior to the spraying or hose them off afterward.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Media Contact
Parks, Forestry and Recreation Media Line



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