Hamilton

City to spend $2.5 million to fight gypsy moth invasion

The city is set to spend $2.5 million to fight a surging gypsy moth population that is threatening trees all over Hamilton.
The gypsy moth caterpillar dances from an invisible line of silk beneath a crab apple tree near Ancaster Mill. (Chris Seto/CBC)

The city is set to spend $2.5 million to fight a surging gypsy moth population that is threatening trees all over Hamilton.

In a report that went to the public works committee last week, city staff describe a dire situation where "West Hamilton, Ancaster, Dundas, and portions of Flamborough experienced notable defoliation," of trees last year.

The gypsy moth is not native to Ontario, and was introduced in the 1960s. Last summer, things became so bad that people reported the pests were chewing up foliage and dropping off trees and onto their property.

The city plans to drop a pesticide called BTK from the sky, to blanket huge areas that are facing damage from the moths.

However, it doesn't come cheap. Costs are estimated at $955 per hectare, the report reads.

Staffers say they anticipate costs of $1,950,000 to do the spraying in 2018, and then $550,000 for study and possible followup in 2019.

Ancaster Coun. Lloyd Ferguson introduced motion that passed at last week's meeting that those funds should come from the city reserve rather than its operating budget.

The report also suggests that the city write to the minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, requesting financial assistance from the province in dealing with gypsy moth infestations, and that any funds received would be used to offset costs.

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