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When and where the city will spray for tree pest caterpillars

Tree pest caterpillars are shown in an undated file image. Tree pest caterpillars are shown in an undated file image.
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Winnipeg crews are readying to clamp down on creepy, crawly pests currently hatching in city trees.

The city said weather permitting, it will begin spraying for tree pest caterpillars Monday night in the central River Heights, southern River Heights, Booth, and Silver Heights areas.

They expect to spray daily, except for Fridays and Saturdays, over the next four weeks.

“The tree pest caterpillars have hatched based on the most current surveillance data and they are actively feeding on leaves,” said David Wade, the city’s superintendent of insect control, in a news release.

“Winnipeggers can expect to see moderate levels of defoliation in some parts of the city based on our observations.”

As part of the tree pest caterpillar control program, crews will treat boulevards, city parks and cemeteries where tree pest caterpillars are plentiful, and where crews have noticed them starting to defoliate trees.

Locations will be determined based on daily inspections by ground surveillance crews.

The city uses Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies kurstaki, known as Btk – an organic product from high-pressure sprayers applied directly to the foliage of trees.

Once tree pest caterpillars consume the Btk, they stop feeding and die about three days later.

The city notes the product has been approved for use under Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency.

Residents who wish to apply for a buffer zone adjacent to their primary residence can do so online, by emailing 311, by faxing 311, in writing to the Insect Control Branch, or in-person at 1539 Waverley Street.

Buffer zones make it so Btk cannot be applied within 30 metres of a specific property.

The city requires a 72-hour turnaround time.

Residents can also register for notification about insect control activities online or by contacting 311.

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