Adverse weather conditions have led the Department of Natural Resources to postpone aerial treatments to slow the spread of gypsy moths that were scheduled to start the week of May 9 in selected areas of Allen, Lake and Porter counties.
Treatments have been rescheduled to begin May 17, weather permitting. A second round of treatments originally scheduled to begin May 16 is now scheduled to begin May 23.
Affected areas include: Allen County (Bremer Road 11; Hadley Road 11; Kroemer Road 11); Lake County (Highland and Springrose Heath); and Porter County (350 East Btk Core).
Maps of the treatment sites and further information about the gypsy moth may be found at gypsymoth.IN.gov. Treatment updates will be posted on the Indiana gypsy moth Twitter site http://twitter.com/#!/INdnrinvasive.
People in and near treatment areas might notice a yellow crop duster airplane flying 50-125 feet above treetops as it performs the treatments by releasing Btk (Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki), a bacterium commonly found in the soil and frequently used in organic farming.
When a gypsy moth caterpillar consumes a leaf with the Btk on it, its digestive system is disrupted and it stops feeding and succumbs. Although Btk only affects feeding caterpillars, people who live or work near the treatment areas may choose to remain indoors during the treatment and for about 30 minutes after the treatment is completed. They also may choose to bring outdoor pet food and water dishes inside.
Aerial applications typically begin between 5:30 and 6 a.m. (Eastern) and continue through the day as the weather and flight schedules permit. With favorable conditions, the treatments usually are completed by early afternoon. If rain or high wind prevents completion of a treatment, the treatment will be completed on the next suitable day.
Each area will receive two aerial treatments four to 10 days apart, depending on weather and other factors. The exception is the Porter County site, which will receive one Btk treatment plus an aerial application of a mating disruption pheromone during the third week of June.
The spread of gypsy moths has been controlled successfully for more than 25 years in Indiana, where it has been confined to small, isolated infestations, primarily in northern Indiana. The Slow the Spread Program for gypsy moths is a collaborative effort between DNR Entomology & Plant Pathology and DNR Forestry, with most of the funding provided by the U.S. Forest Service.
People with questions about this project can call the Indiana DNR toll-free at 1-866-NO EXOTIC (1-866-663-9684) or their Purdue County Extension office at 1-888-EXT-INFO (1-888-398-4636) during regular business hours.
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