The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) will soon begin aerial treatments designed to manage gypsy moth populations in Ohio. One management option includes treating young caterpillars in the spring. Counties where these treatments will be applied to designated blocks include:
The treatments aimed at the larval stage will begin early to mid-May, as young caterpillars and leaf development reaches the optimal threshold for treatment.
Treatments are applied using a low-flying aircraft that flies just above tree tops. High humidity, low temperature and minimal wind are crucial for successful applications. Treatments will most likely take place during early morning hours.
ODA will use Foray (Btk), a naturally occurring bacterium found in the soil that interferes with the caterpillars’ feeding cycles and Gypchek (NPV), a virus that affects only the gypsy moth caterpillars and has no effect on beneficial insects. These treatments are not toxic to humans, pets, birds or fish.
Ohioans can view maps of treatment blocks at www.agri.ohio.gov or directly at the following link: http://www.agri.ohio.gov/divs/plant/gypsy/gypsymothtreatmentmaps.aspx Use the pull down menu and choose slow-the-spread or suppression, and then click on the county.
When the treatment project begins, daily updates on progress across the state will be available on the website or by calling 614-387- 0907 or 1-800-282-1955, ext. 37, any time after 5 p.m.
Gypsy moths are invasive insects that defoliate over 300 species of trees and shrubs. In its caterpillar stage, the insect feeds on the leaves of trees and shrubs and is especially fond of oak trees. A healthy deciduous tree can usually withstand only two years of defoliation before damage impacts the overall health of the tree or causes mortality. The insect is also known to attack certain evergreens, especially spruce, killing those types of trees in a single season is population levels are high enough. In the buckeye state, 51 counties are currently under gypsy moth quarantine regulations.
The department uses three programs to manage the gypsy moth population in Ohio. The suppression program is used in counties where the pest is already established, but landowners voluntarily request treatment to help suppress populations. The second program, slow-the-spread, occurs in counties in front of the larger, advancing gypsy moth population. The third program is the eradication program, used in counties where isolated populations develop ahead of advancing moth populations due to human movement of the moth. Officials work to detect and control isolated populations to slow the overall advancement of the gypsy moth infestation.
Later this season, mating disruption or "flaking" will be applied in already designated blocks. Additional information on this management tool will be highlighted in a future BYGL article.
For more information about the gypsy moth or for specific treatment locations, visit www.agri.ohio.gov.