Aerial Spray program for gypsy moth begins Friday

Town of Pelham press release – An aerial spray program combatting infestations of gypsy moth caterpillars begins at approximately 5:30 a.m. on May 31/2019, spraying a total of 118 acres comprised of public and private property.

The spray program uses a biological insecticide called Foray 48B, its active ingredient being a naturally occurring soil bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis v.kurstaki, or Btk, which only affects spring caterpillars feeding in the upper canopy of hardwoods.

Trees Unlimited, working with Zimmer Air, will apply the first application on May 31, with a second application tentatively scheduled for June 5, 2019. The application of Btk is dispersed by a twin-engine helicopter, creating a brief, but invasive audible disruption. The application time is approximately 15 minutes with the biological insecticide staying suspended for approximately 5-10 minutes. Btk remains lethal to the caterpillar for approximately four days. Ultraviolet light and rain will gradually breakdown the bacteria.

By providing this service, Pelham Town Council addresses an issue affecting many Pelham residents and their ability to enjoy being outdoors on their own property during the summer months.

“We saw this issue last year and we were told that it would be a challenge again this year,” said Mayor Marvin Junkin. “As a result, Council budgeted for a portion of this program and is pleased that Trees Unlimited can get in and do the work needed to be done so that our residents can enjoy their decks, patios, and porches.”

Council budgeted $25,000 for the aerial spray program for 2019. The cost to spray urban area private property is approximately $67,840. This cost will be paid by property owners receiving treatment at a cost of approximately $230 plus HST per property. Invoices for the spray program will be sent to households receiving treatment. Homes identified in the spray blocks are subject to the program; individual properties cannot opt out. Additionally, homes outside the spray blocks cannot opt in to the aerial spray program.

Though there is no need to vacate the premises during the program, Tress Unlimited suggests bringing pets indoors and disconnecting and roof cisterns.