The City of Winnipeg is launching its yearly tree pest caterpillar control targeting insects such as elm spanworms.

Starting on Sunday night, the city's Insect Control Branch will be spraying Health Canada-approved Bacillus thuringiensis to reduce the tree pests. This is set to last for five to six weeks, Sundays to Fridays, dependent on rain and winds.

“Winnipeggers can expect to see moderate to high levels of defoliation in some parts of the city in late May and early June based on surveillance information," Superintendent of Insect Control Ken Nawolsky says in a Thursday statement.

Areas affected include:

  • East Elmwood
  • Kildonan Crossing
  • Munroe East
  • Talbot Grey
  • Tyne Tees 
  • Radisson
  • Victoria West 
  • Kern Park 
  • Kildare Redonda

Parks and cemeteries will be the city's main target to protect the tree foliage from damage. They are currently seeing defoliation happening in these areas.

“Current surveillance information indicates that the tree pest caterpillars have hatched and the caterpillars are actively feeding on the leaves."

The city says residents can apply to have their property protected by a 30-meter buffer zone with the city's Anti-Pesticide Registrants.