The first of two gypsy moth treatments slated for the Crothersville area this spring was successfully completed this morning. The second and final treatment of the spring is set for Monday morning, May 5, 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 in the state, primarily in northern Indiana, as a result of such treatments. The decision to make the treatments in Crothersville was based on favorable input from public meetings held in January.
On each day of treatment, an airplane applies Btk, a bacterium commonly found in the soil, to the treetops of infested areas.
When the treatment is made, application begins as early as 6 a.m. (sunrise). The flights continue through the day, as long as the weather and flight schedule permit. If rain or high wind prevents completion of a treatment flight, the balance of the treatment is scheduled for the next suitable day. The treatment completed this morning was originally scheduled for April 28, but weather caused postponement.
Two treatments are required to eradicate the gypsy moth larvae in most infested areas. The second application typically occurs no sooner than four days after the first application, depending on weather.
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 used 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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