Meet The Worminator. It’s a giant truck, custom built by the City of Regina, complete with a trailer-mounted spray deck, a 1,000 gallon tank and two diesel engines.
The city has two of them, used to battle cankerworms and tent caterpillars. Manager of Forestry, Pest Control and Horticulture, Russell Eirich explained why they want to control the insects.
“Residents don’t like them, they consider them a nuisance,” he said. “We’re trying to protect the tree health over the long term.”
A tree with a continued infestation can be more susceptible to disease.
— Kevin Martel (@KevinMartel) May 29, 2018
Eirich showcased one of The Worminators in the Regina Cemetery. It’s one of four areas the city is focusing on as it begins its spraying program with The Creeks, Harbour Landing and The Greens on Gardiner being the other locations. However, he said numbers of tent caterpillars and cankerworms have dropped significantly from last year.
Residents can also contact the city for the potential of spot treatments, in what Eirich called more of a customized plan versus going into and spraying entire neighbourhoods when it isn’t needed.
The bugs have been out for around the last 10 days Eirich estimated, and now that leaves have developed on trees crews can begin spraying with a pesticide he described as something that’s not chemical in nature, but instead a biological product. It is a bacterium that’s naturally found in soils and grain dusts. It is sprayed on trees but doesn’t immediately kill the larvae. Once dried, larvae will feed on it and within four or five days they die.
Both insects come out around the same time and Eirich said it is hard for the average person to tell the two apart. He said tent caterpillars are generally more hairy and can be found on trees such as poplar, birch, fruit and ash trees while cankerworms usually feed on elm trees.
Mosquito counts up slightly, still below average
Eirich said their count over the last week showed two mosquitoes in each of their 12 traps. That compares to an average of five per trap for this time of year, what he called well below average so far.
The potential of rain in the forecast could change that though. He said crews are still out actively treating ditches and any other standing bodies of water. Once it does rain, Eirich said it usually takes four to five days for mosquitoes to develop in water and emerge as adults.
“Normally what you’re going to see into June is the mosquito numbers always do increase,” he admitted.
Counts are amplified when there is daytime heat and evening rain this time of year he cautioned.