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Aerial spraying may be ‘cankerworm’ solution, here’s where

Hailey Montgomery
Digital Reporter

Sunday, June 11, 2017, 6:13 PM - Residents in Mississauga’s south end are struggling with an ongoing insect infestation, which has one councilor motioning for the city to consider aerial spraying of trees in summer 2018.

Also known as inchworms, cankerworms are able to completely strip trees of their foliage as they feed. After years of exposure to the worms, some trees are unable to continue growing. 

The overpopulation is likely due to this year's warm winter. Unseasonably warm temperatures are suggested to have played a role in a number of rising insect populations across the country, such as tent caterpillars, ticks, and mosquitoes.

A major problem for the city's plant life, but also a major aggravation for residents, who are finding their property swarmed with the pests. The bugs are dropping from trees, and seem to appear together in large droves, leaving feces and debris behind. Neighbourhoods like White Oaks and Lorne Park in particular have been affected, but the worms are appearing throughout the ward and the city.

According to Mississauga Ward 2 Councilor Karen Ras, one resident even had cankerworms falling down her chimney into her home.

“Not being able to use your yards, [...], the ground appearing to move under your feet and most heartbreakingly – already stressed trees having their leaves eaten – I’m not sure how much more these trees can take," she said. "We are at a tipping point."

In a June 7th electronic newsletter, Ras said that she is “cautiously optimistic” that Mississauga will move forward with her motion to consider aerial spraying for Spring 2018. 

Ras is concerned  that Mississauga’s tree canopy is suffering greatly at the hands of the insects, compounded by the effects of emerald ash borer, gypsy moths, ice storms, and drought.

The motion calls for the use of BTK insecticide, a biological pesticide which is essentially poison to a worm if ingested.  BTK was sprayed in Mississauga 10 years ago.

The City of Toronto aerial sprayed with BTK in May for Gypsy Moth. 

Mississauga Parks and Forestry began spraying city-owned trees in Mississauga's White Oaks neighbourhood on June 1.


Below: Canadian home taken over by thousands of tent caterpillars 

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