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Tent caterpillar spraying underway in Regina

"The Worminator" sprays trees in the Regina Cemetery. Cami Kepke / Global News

The ‘Worminators’ are hitting the streets.

That’s the name given to two city pesticide spraying trucks tasked with tackling pesky tent caterpillars in Regina.

READ MORE: Mosquitoes, cankerworms and caterpillars: What to expect this summer

Over the next two and a half weeks, city crews will be targeting the Creeks, Harbour Landing, the Greens on Gardiner, and Regina Cemetery. Other areas will be sprayed on a case-by-case basis and can be reported by calling 777-7000.

As of May 29, the city has received a total of two calls from residents as opposed to last year where they saw an upward of 440 calls.

The city said they’re seeing fewer caterpillars than previous years, but if left untreated, they can strip a tree of its leaves in a week. This can weaken trees, making them more susceptible to diseases like Dutch Elm Disease.

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“This year we’re expecting we’ll need to spray about 2,000 trees,” City Forestry and Pest Control manager Russell Eirich said. “Compare that to last year, we predicted that we needed to spray 10,000 trees, and I think we actually ended up around the 14,000 tree mark.”

READ MORE: Thousands of tent caterpillars emerge, numbers expected to be on the decline

Eirich believes the decrease in caterpillars is due to a combination of a natural cycle and the city’s aggressive spraying program. The crews are spreading a biological-based pesticide called Dipel that also tackles cankerworms. After larvae eat the pesticide, they die in four-to-five days.

READ MORE: Strong winds slow tent caterpillars spray program: City of Regina

Eirich said other animals cannot be harmed if they consume the product, however, the city still recommends keeping children and pets inside while the spraying is going on in their neighbourhood.

“Caterpillars have actually been out for about 10 days now. We needed to wait for the leaves to develop on the trees, and they’ve gotten a little bigger, so it’s at this point where residence start to notice them,” said Eirich.

“This week and next week will probably be when people start to get upset and kind of grossed out by it.”

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Signs will be posted on streets prior to spraying taking place, and the process is expected to take roughly two and a half weeks.

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