Monday, May 21, 2007

Aerial Helicopter Attack Over our Home

She a laughing giggly whirlybird
She got to be obscene to be obheard

I really think its about time that she came down
--- XTC, Helicopter

At 6:09 a.m., a helicopter flew 15-30 metres above our trees spraying noxious chemicals. We're in a war. We stayed inside with our windows closed. The enemy is the Gypsy Moth, which invaded Toronto 20 years ago. Our neighbourhood is a battleground.

Once the Gypsy Moth is widespread and established in an area, they are impossible to remove. So drastic action is needed. Luckily, the City of Toronto has been following the advances of this predator and retaliating with aerial sprays, ground sprays and manual removal of eggs.

The Prize
We have a Linden tree, which is a favourite of the Gyspy Moth. We haven't seen caterpillars crawling over it, but they might be there.

The Helicopter
The aerial spraying is surprisingly sophisticated. The twin-engine helicopter uses an ultra low volume spraying system. Spray boundaries have been set in the helicopter's GPS. So the flight path follows the areas to be sprayed.

Another spray day is planned, as the chemicals used lose potency within a few days and with exposure to UV.

The Planning
Considerable planning has taken place. Hats off to the city. It's good to know that the
city has been attentive to the Gypsy Moth problems. They provided a nice detailed glossy booklet which answers more questions than we had. There are phone numbers for additional information and a website www.toronto.ca/trees.

Noxious Chemicals
The chemical used (Btk) is made from a bacterium that occurs naturally on dead/decaying matter in the soil. It should be safe for us, the water supply and our garden. Even so, we're not planting our vegetables just yet.

The thought of hordes of caterpillars crawling hither and tither is not pleasant. Let's hope the battle is over.

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