Aerial treatments to slow the spread of gypsy moths in selected areas of Allen, Wells and Miami counties could begin next week, weather permitting, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources said today.
Gypsy moths are one of North America's most devastating invasive forest pests, and have caused thousands of acres of defoliation across the eastern United States, a news release said.
Treatment begins shortly after sunrise but could be delayed until later in the morning or to the next day because of unfavorable weather conditions such as morning fog or rain. Treatment is expected to take about an hour. A second treatment will occur four to 10 days after the first.
During treatment, a yellow airplane flying 75 to 125 feet above the treetops will conduct the treatment. The airplane distributes a spray containing the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki, referred to as Btk, into the treetops of infested areas where gypsy moth caterpillars feed on tree leaves. The spray kills gypsy moth caterpillars by disrupting their digestive systems after they ingest it.
Btk has been used for decades by organic gardeners and does not adversely affect people or animals, the news release said. But people who live or work near the treatment areas might want to stay inside when the planes are flying and for about 30 minutes after treatments are complete.
If the weather cools and slows the emergence of the caterpillars, the first treatment application could be delayed until the week of May 17.
To determine whether your property is in the treatment areas or to view maps of all treatment locations, go to gypsymoth.IN.gov.