Corp Comm Connects

Toronto to conduct aerial spray to protect tree canopy from LDD moths
May 13, 2022
Hannah Jackson

The City of Toronto says it will conduct an aerial spray to protect the tree canopy from lymantria dispa dispar (LDD) moths.

In a press release issued Tuesday, the city said it will start the aerial spray program in late May and continue into mid-June in neighbourhoods across Toronto.

“The LDD moth, formerly referred to as European Gypsy Moth, is an invasive, defoliating insect that feeds on a variety of tree species,” the release reads.

The city said eradication of the LDD moth is “not possible since it is well established throughout North America.

According to the release, the city uses “many interventions” to manage the moths, including tree injections, egg mass removal and ground spraying.

“Aerial sprays are only used when LDD moth populations rise to levels that could have devastating effects on Toronto’s tree canopy,” the release read. “During the past few seasons, LDD moth populations have been on the rise and have moved into new areas.”

The city said the spray will treat around 800 hectares of private and public land that is forecast to have “high LDD moth populations” this year.

That includes land in Parkdale-High Park, York Centre, Don Valley West, Don Valley East, Don Valley North, Willowdale, Beaches-East York, Scarborough Southwest, Scarborough Centre, Scarborough-Agincourt, Scarborough North, Scarborough-Guildwood and Scarborough-Rouge Park.

According to the city, residents in spray zones are not required to take any “special precautions.”

The city said the insecticides used are not toxic to birds, humans, other mammals, adult moths, butterflies, bees and other insects, and have been approved by Health Canada.

“However, those wishing to avoid exposure can remain indoors during and immediately after spraying,” the release said.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said the aerial spray program will “help reduce the tremendous damage these invasive insects are causing to our trees.”

“Toronto’s trees provide a wide range of environmental benefits for people and wildlife in the city and must be protected,” he said in a statement. “Municipalities in Ontario and throughout North America are engaged in similar spray initiatives, which have proven to be both safe and effective.”

Toronto residents can check to see if their address is in a spray zone by visiting the city’s website.