The DNR, in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service State and Private Forestry, and Hoosier National Forest, will conduct a public meeting to discuss the presence of the invasive gypsy moth insect in Hoosier National Forest, problems associated with infestations, and methods for dealing with the insect, Dec. 4.
The meeting will be at Bloomington High School South, 1965 S. Walnut St., Bloomington, 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern (local) time. While open to anyone, the meetings will be geared toward residents and interested users of the specific geographical area listed below that has been identified as having infestations.
At the meetings, DNR personnel from the Division of Entomology and Plant Pathology will propose several options for treatment and eradication of that area's gypsy moth population. Representatives from the DNR and Hoosier National Forest will be present to answer questions and listen to comments.
Written comments may be submitted to:
Hoosier National Forest
811 Constitution Avenue
Bedford, IN 47421
Options for dealing with the gypsy moth that will be discussed in detail at the meetings include:
- Using mass trapping, which involves setting a large number of traps in a concentrated area to capture male gypsy moths before they have a chance to locate and mate with females, or
- Using biological control, which involves the aerial application of the naturally occurring bacteria Btk (Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki), which eliminates gypsy moth larvae, or
- Using mating disruption, which involves the aerial application of the gypsy moth mating pheromone (or scent) that confuses male gypsy moth adults and prevents mating, or
- Using integrated pest management, which involves the combined use of the above options.
The gypsy moth, which now has a foothold in some northern Indiana counties, was first brought to the United States from Europe more than 100 years ago. This insect is one of the most destructive pests of hardwood forests and urban landscapes in the nation. The gypsy moth already has had long-lasting effects on the forest resources and residents of Michigan, Ohio, Virginia and the northeast United States.
Maps of the exact site of concern and further information may be found on the DNR entomology Web site at www.IN.gov/dnr/entomolo or the Hoosier National Forest Web site at http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/hoosier/project_docs/current_analysis.htm
Those unable to attend the public meeting may view the meeting's PowerPoint presentation, a copy of the meeting content text sheet, and a series of question-and-answer documents on the DNR Web site at: www.IN.gov/dnr/entomolo/gypsymoth/pubmeet08.htm.
For nearly 30 years, Indiana has delayed gypsy moths from becoming more widespread. Because of this delay, as the gypsy moth moves through the state, the DNR is able to incorporate the newest and safest methods to preserve the long-term health of Indiana's woodlands and urban forests.
Gypsy moths typically advance at a rate of approximately 12 miles a year. A large infestation is capable of defoliating 3 million acres of forest a year in the United States, the approximate equivalent to 70 percent of Indiana's forested acreage. Further, drastic changes in ecological habitat due to the loss of foliage may lead to the loss of other plants and wildlife. Death to valuable timber may cause an economic impact detrimental to the timber industry and other related industries.
There are approximately 4.4 million acres of forested land in Indiana. About 3.25 million of the 4.4 million acres of forested land in Indiana, or about 80 percent of the trees in those forests, are susceptible to gypsy moth damage. A variety of plants favorable to gypsy moths also exist in the urban environment. The insect's current advance into northern Indiana comes from the natural spread of the infestation from Michigan, where the insect has been present since the 1980s.
Urban-area concerns include potential liabilities from dead limbs and trees, and the cost of tree removal. In addition, caterpillar hairs may become skin and respiratory irritants. Caterpillars and their droppings is also an extraordinary nuisance.
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