Hastings County wants to meet Gypsy Moth with Ontario government


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Ontario municipalities need help with gypsy moths, the Hastings County manager said, and is asking the province’s Ministry of Natural Resources for help.

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“We’re still trying to get a meeting with the minister or his staff,” Director Rick Phillips told county councilors in Belleville on Thursday.

“It’s really for the funding,” he added. Moth larvae can defoliate trees, although some may recover their foliage in the same season.

Phillips said the problem “is not going to go away next year.

“We know that, but at least we need to be able to make an honest attempt to find funding and find resources to help municipalities.” He said municipalities in Ontario could use provincial support.

Thursday’s discussion came after Tweed County Councilor and Mayor Jo-Anne Albert requested an update on the county’s moth mapping project. A page on the county’s website allows residents to enter their addresses and the level of gypsy moth activity to give county staff and politicians a clearer picture of the extent of the problem.

“We’ve been inundated,” Albert said of the cyclical increase in moths and their larvae last year.

“We just need the information to help us make our plans,” she said.

Chief Information Officer Larry Dean said the site had performed “fairly well” with around 1,000 responses, mostly in the southern half of the county.

“I don’t think there were any surprises,” Dean said in a subsequent telephone interview.

“The advisers knew there was a problem and the answers show it.”

A respondent from Madoc’s Atkinson Road wrote that he had lost foliage from a 40-foot blue spruce and pine.

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“All the hundred-year-old oaks were completely devastated, but fortunately grew back,” the message read.

In Faraday Township, someone on Faradale Drive reported complete defoliation of white oaks plus 75 percent of beeches and 50 percent of white pines and birches.

Someone in Tweed said they sprayed pesticides and used pheromone decoys to capture the males.

There have been little or no reports from some municipalities. There had been only one report in the county’s northernmost municipality, Hastings Highlands. It came from someone from the old canton of Herschel. Carlow / Mayo also only had one report.

Dean said his team, at the Dec. 21 meeting of the county planning committee, would provide county councilors with data from their municipalities.

Director Phillips said he was in regular contact with Quinte West Mayor Jim Harrison about the matter. Most of the reports on the county mapping app came from residents of Quinte West.

“The whole property was bare,” one article reads. He describes a property on Gallivan Road. “No more leaves. The house was covered from front to back.

“Lots of egg masses on the trees,” reads an article in Fish and Game Club Road.

“Several oaks, maples and even white pine and blue spruce were attacked” and the house was covered in caterpillars, the post read. Most of the trees carried masses of eggs, he continues.

Quinte West officials have collected their own data. Dean said county workers have received information about infestations beyond the county borders and will exchange information with staff at Quinte West.

The county browser-based app can be found here: tinyurl.com/hcmoth.


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