By Gary Budzak
The Ohio Department of Agriculture will begin aerial treatments today to manage the spread of the gypsy moth in Delaware County.
“First, there’s going to be some treatments in northern Franklin and southern Delaware County scheduled to start on June 23,” department spokesman Brett Gates told The Gazette. “Those would take place over the course of one or two days, weather permitting. After that, the treatments will move north. There’s a treatment block in the city of Delaware that would take place June 24 or June 25.”
A small yellow one-person plane will drop a single application of Disrupt II, a biodegradable plastic pheromone, 100 to 200 feet above the tree tops in forested areas.
“Most of it will be high up in the tree canopy,” Gates said. “It’s doubtful that people will even be able to see the little plastic flakes themselves.”
The Disrupt II product replicates the pheromone emitted by a female gypsy moth, and it confuses the male moth as it searches for a mate.
“It doesn’t actually kill the moth, but it disrupts the mating process,” Gates said. “It’s been around almost two decades now, and there’s been no issues. It’s not harmful to birds, plants, pets or humans.
The gypsy moth feeds on the leaves of more than 300 different trees, particularly oak. An infected tree can die in as soon as two years. According to the Department of Agriculture, 51 of Ohio’s 88 counties have a gypsy moth problem.
Ohio has had a program in place for a number years called Slow the Spread. On an annual basis, different parts of the state that have a significant population of gypsy moths receive treatments, Gates said.
“We’ve had great success with it, being able to push back against the gypsy moth infestation, while minimizing effects on anything else. We that very seriously, and we’re hoping to protect Ohio’s diverse habitat by slowing the spread of this invasive pest.”
A pre-recorded message about treatments can be accessed by calling 614-387-0907 or 1-800-282-1955 ext.37 (after 5 p.m.).
For more information on the gypsy moth, visit http://www.agri.ohio.gov/divs/plant/gypsy/gypsy-index.aspx.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.