Winnipeg’s caterpillar control spraying starting on Sunday

The City of Winnipeg’s insect control branch will begin spraying for caterpillar season on Sunday.

The city says the spraying will begin at 9:30 in the evening, weather permitting.

Spraying takes place Sunday to Thursday evenings for the next five to six weeks.

“Current surveillance information indicates that the tree pest caterpillar larvae are feeding on the leaves,” said Ken Nawolsky, Superintendent of Insect Control in a press release.

“Winnipeggers can expect to see moderate levels of defoliation in some parts of the city in June based on surveillance information.”

Click to play video: 'Forest tent caterpillar infestation taking over Winnipeg'
Forest tent caterpillar infestation taking over Winnipeg

The city says they will be treating trees on boulevards, parks and cemeteries where they know the caterpillars are starting to eat the leaves on trees.

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The city says the treatment uses the biological pesticide bacillus thuringiensis subspecies kurstaki, which is sprayed on the leaves and then eaten by the caterpillars who eventually die after two or three days.

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Property owners not wanting insecticides applied on or adjacent to their principal residence can be added to a list through 311.

Earlier this month, city forester Martha Barwinsky said the city would also be tackling Dutch Elm Disease.

City teams will be removing trees that have been marked due to Dutch Elm, and workers will conduct surveillance once trees are in full leaf — including potentially visiting homeowners’ yards to inspect their elm trees.

Barwinsky said forestry staff will be wearing high-visibility vests with City of Winnipeg ID, and will be knocking on people’s doors first.

Homeowners with elm trees are also being asked to avoid pruning their trees for the next few months.

“There is a pruning restriction on elm from April 1 to July 31,” said Barwinsky.

–With files from Sam Thompson

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