Adverse weather conditions have caused the Department of Natural Resources to postpone aerial treatments to slow the spread of gypsy moths. The treatments had been scheduled to start Tuesday, May 17, in selected areas of Allen, Lake and Porter counties.
Treatments have been rescheduled to begin Thursday, May 19, weather permitting. A second round of treatments will follow a few days later, weather permitting.
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 at 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) Foray 76B, a bacterium commonly found in the soil and frequently used in organic farming.
When a gypsy moth caterpillar consumes a leaf with Btk on it, its digestive system is disrupted; it stops feeding and succumbs. Although Btk affects only 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, which allows time for the Btk product to adhere to leaves. 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 weather and flight schedules permit. With favorable conditions, the treatments are usually completed by early afternoon. If rain or high wind prevents completion of a treatment, it will be completed on the next suitable day.
Each area will receive two aerial treatments spaced 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 the 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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