Director of Communications with Northumberland County, Kate Campbell gave an update about the gypsy moth situation.
As background: Outbreaks of Gypsy Moth often appear in cycles every 7-10 years and can last for approximately three years. Since last fall, Northumberland County Forest staff have been removing Gypsy Moth egg masses from Special Management Zones in the Northumberland County Forest to help protect areas with high conservation value.
In addition, Forest staff have been monitoring Gypsy Moth populations and doing forecasting to assess future impacts of outbreaks. Staff will be continuing with these assessments throughout 2021/22 to help identify any steps for future years.
The County has decided not to use aerial spraying at this time. In monitoring the defoliation (stripping of leaves/bark) from the 2020 outbreak, the vast majority of trees fully recovered, despite their stark appearance.
Given that the majority of trees do recover, and the fact that spraying kills other threatened caterpillars that play a crucial role in the food chain of a forest ecosystem, it is not an option we are pursuing at this time.
We will be monitoring the situation again this year and examining the effectiveness of the spraying done by the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority in their region to determine whether any change in approach is required for 2022.
A naturally occurring fungus and a virus will cause an eventual collapse in numbers of these caterpillars as the population builds to high levels, bringing an end to this cycle.
We’ve added information to our website for residents looking for more information about gypsy moth, including links for property owners interested in listings of Certified Arborists or Professional Foresters. This page is www.northumberland.ca/gypsymoth.