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The Moths Are (Almost) Back—Here’s What You Can Do


There’s nothing I love more at this time of year than a sunny spring walk in our beautiful neighbourhoods. There are so many sights to take in, from flowers blooming in front gardens to the natural beauty of our ravines. However, there is one thing I know many of us dread seeing when the warmer weather rolls around: those pesky LDD Moths and caterpillars.




For those of you lucky enough not to have seen one (or hundreds) of these on your street last year, the above photos show the LDD Moth (formerly known as the Gypsy Moth) in both its caterpillar and adult moth stages. These creatures may be tiny, but as caterpillars they can wreak serious havoc on our trees, especially oaks. Unfortunately, the species is so well established in North America that there’s no way to completely eradicate them. Instead, we have to focus on what we can to do control the population and protect our trees from severe defoliation. These recent cold snaps may have staved them off for a few more weeks, but the caterpillars will start hatching soon. I want to make sure you have all the information you need to stop these moths in their tracks as best you can. Let’s take a look at what the City is doing to treat our neighbourhoods this year and what you can do to deal with LDD moths on your trees.


A severely defoliated oak tree.


The biggest change to the City’s LDD Moth Treatment Program this year is the use of aerial spraying in certain areas. Many of you reached out last year with questions about why the City wasn’t doing a broader pesticide application given how severe our outbreak was. The City only uses aerial sprays when the LDD moth population rises to very serious levels and when they spread to many new areas of the city, as is the case this year. It’s thanks to dedicated residents like yourself who reported LDD Moth sightings in your neighbourhood that the City was able to develop a more comprehensive treatment strategy for this season. The City has a helpful interactive treatment map that shows the exact locations that will receive aerial spraying from mid-May to mid-June. If you’re in an affected area, you should have already received a notice in the mail. Rest assured that the product they are spraying is not toxic to humans, birds, mammals, or other insects, including bees. Rather than spraying a chemical, they’re actually spraying a bacteria that occurs in nature and only targets caterpillars and young moths. Pretty neat! The image below is taken from the City’s map and shows which areas in Don Valley North will receive spraying:


Click the above image to view the full Interactive Treatment Map.


City staff have also been hard at work completing the other pieces of the pest management strategy, including physically removing egg masses from many of our trees and completing some localized pesticide applications. When you still see caterpillars around your neighbourhood next month, it may seem like nothing has been done at all, but rest assured that these treatments stop millions of caterpillars from hatching each year. It’s important to remember that the City only treats City-owned trees, found in parks, on boulevards, and on some front lawns. The City can’t treat private trees in backyards, which is why it’s so important that everyone takes steps to treat LDD moths on their property. So what can you do? It depends on what stage the moths are in. Right now, the caterpillars haven’t hatched yet, so you still have time to remove egg masses from your trees if you see them. My team and I put together a helpful video a couple of summers ago showing how to safely and effectively remove egg masses from your trees:



Once the caterpillars hatch, you can fasten some burlap around the base of your trees to trap them. Once trapped, deposit them in a bucket of soapy water, leave them for a couple of days, and dispose of them in the garbage. Of course, the most important thing you can do at any point in the year is report any sightings of LDD Moths, caterpillars, and egg masses on any trees in your area. These reports are what allow staff to develop a comprehensive treatment program for the following year, and ensure that the hardest-hit areas are receiving proper treatment. The City has updated its reporting tool this year to be even easier to use:

This form is the best way to report LDD Moth sightings, because staff get all the details they need from you directly. If you’re having any issues with the form, you can also make a report by calling 311 or reaching out to my office. My team and I are always here to answer your questions and pass the message along to staff if you notice a new trend or any issue on your street. LDD Moths are a real nuisance for our neighbourhoods, but I’ve seen how hard our community has worked to deal with these pests already. Outbreaks like the ones we’ve been seeing tend to last anywhere from three to five years, so I’m hopeful that we’re nearing the end of severe infestations here in the City. If we keep working together, we can help protect our beautiful natural spaces here in Don Valley.

 

Broken Bins

I wanted to quickly touch on another topic I’ve been hearing about recently: broken garbage and recycling bins. There was a very informative article in the Star last weekend on this topic that’s worth the read. Reporter Richard Warnica noticed that the west end, where our private contractor GFL collects bins, has a higher rate of broken and cracked bins than the east end, where City employees collect the garbage. He found a lot of different reasons for the broken bins, not least of which is the lack of care that GFL staff were taking when loading the bins onto their trucks’ mechanical arms. From my perspective, he left out another reason for broken bins that can happen anywhere in town. It is the fact that bins age. If any of your bins are looking worse for wear, it’s very easy to have them replaced. You can request a new bin online or by calling or emailing 311. As always, if you run into any issues with your bin replacement, don’t hesitate to contact my office. My team is happy to assist.

 

Planning & Development Update

Redevelopment of Fairview Mall

Last week, Cadillac Fairview announced that our own Fairview Mall will be the latest to follow a growing trend in Toronto and North America: the redevelopment of shopping centre parking lots into mixed use and residential buildings. Similar projects are already underway at Yorkdale, Sherway Gardens, Cloverdale and Galleria malls. Don Valley North is no stranger to this sort of development. Bayview Village Mall had its own master plan approved by the Ontario Land Tribunal back in 2020. All these projects are a reflection of the changing economics of shopping centres. In order to sustain and continue to attract major stores, malls are looking to bring more residents on-site and create community hubs. Even now, Fairview Mall is a key community, economic, and transportation hub for our community, supporting thousands of jobs and tens of thousands of transit riders daily. Any proposed development plan needs to acknowledge this reality and engage the community in envisioning how the redevelopment can best support the needs of current and future residents. As Toronto continues to grow, especially around key locations like Don Mills subway station, we need to work collaboratively and creatively to build strong, transit-oriented communities with built-in community assets like greater local job opportunities, community spaces, expanded libraries, child care, and parks. But this work can't be done without the community. That's where you and I come in to work together. Over the coming months and years, I hope you will join me and City Planning in this process. In July, we will have the first of many community meetings to shape the future of this important site for decades to come. Be sure to reach out to my office if you'd like regular updates on this project in particular.


 

Upcoming Vaccine Clinics in Don Valley North

Oriole Community Centre (2975 Don Mills Rd. W.)

North York General Hospital is running a vaccine clinic at Oriole Community Centre every Wednesday (12:00 - 3:00 PM) and Thursday (4:00 - 7:30 PM) in April. First, second, third, and fourth doses of Pfizer and Moderna are available, and all ages (5+) are welcome. Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are welcome while supplies last. For more information, visit the link below:

 

Meet Mary Khan, our Don Valley Northerner of the Week! Mary never hesitates to support her neighbours with any issues that arise. She wouldn’t admit it herself, but she is a true leader in her building and always has the best interests of other tenants at heart. She has been instrumental in connecting residents with community organizations and other local supports. Mary’s neighbours truly appreciate her ongoing commitment to improving their building and advocating for them as a collective.


Nominate a Neighbour! Do you know someone in your neighbourhood who makes a difference? Someone who is committed to bettering their community and always there to help out their neighbours? Nominate them for Don Valley Northerner of the Week! To submit a nomination for Don Valley Northerner of the week, please send the following information about the person you are nominating to councillor_carroll@toronto.ca:

  • Name

  • A short blurb (~100 words) about why you are nominating them (how they support/contribute to the community, etc.)

I know so many of you help out your friends and neighbours in a number of ways, so please nominate anyone in your community who you feel makes a difference. My team will contact you if we select your nominee as Don Valley Northerner of the Week!

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