The City of Winnipeg’s insect control branch is beginning it’s tree pest caterpillar control program on Tuesday at 9:30 p.m.

The program will be targeting the forest tent caterpillar, elm spanworm and the spring and fall cankerworm species. It will focus on the insect management areas in Central Park, Colony, Daniel McIntyre, Portage-Ellice, Spence, West Alexander, Burrows Central and Robertson.

The program will not begin if there is heavy rains or winds greater than 20 kilometres an hour.

The treatment will use a biological and organic product that will be sprayed onto the foliage of the trees. The substance is a subspecies of the Bacillus thuringiensis called kurstaki (Btk) and it has been approved by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency. Once the tree pest caterpillars ingest the substance, they stop feeding and die two to three days later.

Winnipeg Residents can apply for a 30-metre buffer zone that will exempt their property from the program. Property owners can register as anti-pesticide registrants for tree pest caterpillar control using Btk. Those who want to register must provide identification that ties them to their address.

The three ways to register are to write to the insect control branch on Grey Street, contact 311, or in person at 1539 Waverley Street. There is a 72-hour turnaround for registrants.