Worms eating Blenheim street trees not quite as illustrated - but close
During civic elections the most mundane of issues can suddenly take on a life of their own. I'm not sure the oak leaf skeletonizer issue falls into that category, but it does involve a very active and politically connected group of citizens.
The Blenheim Neighbourhood Group have sent an email to local residents complaining that due to budget cuts the city is no longer spraying to protect the local tree canopy from leaf eating worms.
Here is a copy of their recent email:
From: Blenheim Neighbourhood Group <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: October 12, 2011 8:27:02 PM PDT (CA)
To: BNG <email@example.com>
Subject: Oak Leaf Skeletonizer - City not spraying this year
I've just learned that the City will not be doing their usual spraying of street trees for oak leaf skeletonizer (Bucculatrix ainsliella) this year due to budget cuts. Spraying for oak leaf skeletonizer is something the City has been doing for many years now, to keep these pests under control, so this represents an abrupt change in practice.
I'm not sure what's happening elsewhere on the street, but we have lots of delightful tiny green worms hanging from the boulevard oak trees in front of our property and pretty much all over our yard. The dogs are even coming in from the yard with some worms having landed on them.
Anyone wishing to voice concerns about the lack of spraying this year can either phone the 3-1-1- city hotline, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the online tree service request form at http://vancouver.ca/parks/trees/request.shtml.
There is no money for tree spraying but there was enough money for other costly initiatives at City Hall. If you recall Mayor Gregor Robertson spent $85,000 for an inaugural bash and $850,000 for a new toilet, carpets and upholstery on the 3rd floor of City Hall. We also shouldn't forget that council set aside $20,000 for a new homeless shelter for chickens.
Considering the election is only 5 weeks away, if the good citizens of Blenheim Street wanted to raise a stink about gooey worms, they may well get a positive reaction from city politicians. We'll monitor this over the coming weeks to see if anything comes of their advocacy.