In response to an invasive moth species, the City of Toronto is conducting an aerial spray to kill the spongy moths.
Invasive spongy moth outbreaks have previously been correlated to upper respiratory tract irritations and skin rashes in those exposed to the moth hairs, silken threads, or shed skins.
In response to the menace, The City of Toronto will use the pesticides Foray 48B Biological Insecticide Aqueous Suspension and BoVir Suspension Concentrate Insecticidal Virus (High Park Only) sprayed from a helicopter for the control of the moths. The latter required emergency use registration to allow for it’s use and is rated as a Category B infectious substance.
Area residents are told that no special precautions are required but to consider the following:
- “Remaining indoors during and for 30 minutes after spraying to allow for the droplets to deposit onto the tree leaves.
- Bringing laundry, toys and pets indoors before spraying begins.
- Practicing good personal and food hygiene (hand washing after outdoor activities, especially after gardening; leaving outdoor shoes at the door; washing all fruits and vegetables before eating or cooking).
- Covering lawn furniture, outdoor tables, pools, barbeques, play equipment and sandboxes and/or rinsing them off with water after spraying is finished.
- Minimizing opening and closing windows and doors during the spraying. Shutting off the heating/cooling vents or selecting the recirculate setting.
- Contacting your family physician if you are concerned that a personal medical condition may be aggravated by the spraying”
After spraying for the moths in previous years, additional risk was identified in December 2019 when a City of Toronto Report for Action requested a contractual agreement with Zimmer Air Service Inc. for a one year term totalling a cost of $804,608.
The 2022 update notes that “all spray blocks will be receiving two applications of pesticide, three to 10 days apart. Due to the physical extent of the spray areas and logistics of spraying, there may be multiple days of helicopter activity to ensure all areas receive adequate coverage.”
A link to an interactive map is provided to view spray blocks and dates.