For immediate release: Apr 28, 2008
Posted by: [DNR]
Contact: Marty Benson or Phil Marshall
Phone: (317) 233-3853 or (317) 232-4189

Gypsy moth treatment moved to Wednesday

Unfavorable weather delays aerial treatments

The gypsy moth treatment slated for tomorrow in Crothersville has been postponed until Wednesday, weather permitting, because of weather. The back-up date is Thursday or the next suitable day thereafter, weather permitting.

A Web-based map showing the specific treatment site is available at:

For more than 25 years the gypsy moth has been held in check and confined to comparatively small infestations, primarily in northern Indiana, as a result of such treatments. The decision to make the treatments was based on favorable input from public meetings held in January.

The site will receive two applications. On each day of treatment, an airplane will begin applying Btk, a bacterium commonly found in the soil, to the treetops of infested areas.

When the treatment is made, application could begin at 6 a.m. (sunrise). The flights would continue through the day, as long as the weather and flight schedule permit. If rain or high wind prevents completion of the treatment flight, the balance of the site would be scheduled for the next suitable day.

Two treatments are required to eradicate the gypsy moth larvae in most infested areas. The second application will occur no sooner than four days after the first application and also will depend on weather conditions.

When a gypsy moth caterpillar eats a leaf with the bacterium on it, Btk shuts down the digestive system of caterpillars so they can't digest leaves and soon die. Btk is short for Bacillus thuringiensis (var. kurstaki).

Btk is generally not harmful to humans or pets. A very small number of people have experienced minor eye or sinus irritation if they are directly exposed to Btk. People who live or work near the treatment areas can take common sense precautions, including avoiding direct exposure of Btk to themselves or their belongings.

People in treatment areas who are concerned about sensitivity to the treatment may choose to adjust their time spent outdoors to avoid exposure and stay indoors until one-half to one hour after the plane has completed its last flight over the area. Pet food and water or other food or drink should be covered or kept indoors until one-half hour after the spraying.

The airplane is a crop duster that flies about 50 feet above treetops to precisely apply the Btk in the treatment areas. The plane will make turns over adjacent areas but will not release any Btk over those areas.

People with questions about this project may call Indianapolis toll-free, 1-877-INFODNR (463-6367), between 8:15 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, or contact their county extension office. 

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