Aerial treatments to slow the spread of gypsy moths in selected areas of Allen and Kosciusko counties could begin the week of April 26.
Treatments usually begin in early May; however, due to warmer-than-usual spring weather, the emergence of gypsy moth caterpillars and the leafing out of trees is occurring unusually early, making the earlier treatment necessary.
If the weather cools and slows the emergence of the caterpillars, treatments could be delayed until the week of May 3. Updates will be posted at gypsymoth.IN.gov. DNR will also issue news releases to local media to update the status.
Once treatment begins, rain or high wind may stop it for that day. Treatment would resume the next suitable day and continue until the all sites have been treated.
All sites will receive two treatments, spaced approximately four to ten days apart. The timing of second treatments is also weather dependent, although they are likely to begin during the week of May 3.
A yellow crop duster airplane will fly 50-125 feet above the treetops to do the treatment, starting at sunrise and continuing throughout the day as long as the weather and flight schedules permit. With favorable weather, treatments may be completed by late morning or early afternoon.
The airplanes will be distributing a fine spray containing the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki, also called Btk, into the treetops of infested areas where gypsy moth caterpillars feed. Btk is naturally occurs in soil. Gypsy moth caterpillars that consume leaf tissue coated with Btk, are killed when their digestive system reacts to the bacteria.
Btk has been used for decades by organic gardeners and does not usually adversely affect people or animals; however, people who live or work near the treatment areas might want to take common-sense precautions, including staying inside when the planes are flying as well as for about 30 minutes after treatments are complete. This gives the material time to settle out of the air and stick to treetops. People with questions may call toll-free at 1-866-NO-EXOTIC (663-9684) or call their county extension office.
Maps of the treatment sites and further information about gypsy moth may be found at dnr.IN.gov/entomolo.
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