The DNR will conduct public meetings from Jan. 17 to Feb. 5, to discuss the presence of the invasive gypsy moth insect in Indiana, problems associated with infestations, and methods for dealing with the insect.
The meetings will be held in Allen, Delaware, Elkhart, Lake, LaPorte, Scott and St. Joseph counties. While open to anyone, the meetings will be geared toward residents of the specific geographic areas listed below that have been identified as having infestations.
At the meetings, DNR personnel from the entomology, plant pathology and forestry divisions of the DNR will propose several options for treatment and eradication of that area's gypsy moth population. The representatives also will welcome questions and comments.
Written comments may be submitted to Gypsy Moth, DNR Division of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Department of Natural Resources, 402 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN, 46204 or by e-mail to DEPP@dnr.IN.gov. The comment period ends at 4 p.m. EST, Feb.19, 2008.
Options for dealing with the gypsy moth that will be discussed in detail at the meetings include:
- Taking no action,
- 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.
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, 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 are also an extraordinary nuisance.
Maps of the exact sites of concern and further information about the gypsy moth may be found on the DNR entomology Web site at www.IN.gov/dnr/entomolo/gypsymoth/.
Those unable to attend one of the public meetings 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.
Meeting locations and times follow. All times are EST, except where indicated.
Please note that where multiple meetings exist under a county, there is more than one site proposed for treatment. In Elkhart, Allen and LaPorte counties, two identical meetings will be held for the same areas at different times to better accommodate the expected large turnout for that area.
Jan. 17 - 6:30 p.m. EST
Yorktown Middle School Cafeteria
8820 W. Smith St.
Yorktown, IN 47396
Jan. 23 - 6 p.m. EST
Austin Town Hall
80 West Main St.
Austin, IN 47102
St. Joseph County
Jan. 24 - 6 p.m. EST
Warren Township Fire Station
54837 Quince Rd.
South Bend, IN 46628
Jan. 29 - 3 & 6 p.m. EST
Goshen Public Library
601 South 5th. St.
Goshen, IN 46526
Jan. 30 - 2 & 7 p.m. EST
St. Joseph Township Hall
6033 Maplecrest Rd.
Fort Wayne, IN 46835
Jan. 31 - 3 & 6 p.m. CST
LaPorte County Public Library
904 Indiana Ave.
LaPorte, IN 46350
Feb. 5 - 6 p.m. CST
County Public Library - Griffith Branch
940 North Broad St.
Griffith, IN 46319
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