DNR schedules gypsy moth treatments Wednesday - May 08, 2006
The follow news release is from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources; 402 W. Washington St. W255 B; Indianapolis, IN 46204-2748 For more than 25 years the pest has been held in check and confined to comparatively small infestations in Indiana. Next week the DNR will treat 15 specific areas of infestation in six counties. Fort Wayne residents will once again be treated for this pest on Wednesday. The first round of treatments of the infested areas are scheduled to begin as early as 9 am (EDT) Wednesday, May 10 weather permitting. There are 5 infested areas in Allen County that will be treated on various days, Fort Wayne has two areas which will be treated on Wednesday, weather permitting. The 3 other infested areas in Allen County will be treated earlier in the week. The aerial treatments will be flown by one helicopter and will begin about 9 a.m. and continue for as long as two hours depending on available weather and flight conditions. On the day of the treatment the helicopter will begin applying a bacteria commonly found in the soil to the treetops of infested areas. When a gypsy moth caterpillar eats a leaf with the bacterium on it, the bacterium shuts down the digestive system of caterpillars so they can't digest leaves and soon die. The helicopter will fly about 50-feet above treetops to precisely apply the Btk in the treatment areas. The helicopter 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 at 1-866-NOEXOTIC (663-9684) or 1-877-INFODNR (463-6367) between 8:15 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday or contact their county extension office. Specific treatment sites and Web-based maps are as follows: ALLEN COUNTY Fort Wayne west http://www.in.gov/dnr/entomolo/images/fort%20wayne%20west%20btk%2006%20streets.jpg Fort Wayne east http://www.in.gov/dnr/entomolo/images/fort%20wayne%20east%20btk%2006%20streets.jpg
Background about the gypsy moth The gypsy moth, which now has a foothold in some counties in northern Indiana, was first brought to the United States from Europe over 100 years ago. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has held back introduction of this pest throughout Indiana for more than 25 years. Now that the gypsy moth is within Indiana's borders, however, residents can expect to see more of this pest throughout the next decade. For the past 25 years, Indiana has delayed gypsy moths from becoming more widespread through aerial treatments wherever isolated infestations have been detected. Because of this delay, as the gypsy moth moves through the state, the DNR will be able to incorporate newer and safer methods that will preserve the long-term health of Indiana's woodlands and urban forests. The gypsy moth is the most serious forest and urban landscape pest in the United States. It now occupies the northeastern United States, a portion of northeast Ohio and the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Gypsy moth movement occurs naturally along the front of the generally infested area. It typically advances at a rate of approximately 13 miles a year. The gypsy moth is capable of defoliating 3 million acres of forest a year in the United States; the approximate equivalent to 70% of Indiana's forested acreage. Gypsy moth caterpillars kill trees as by eating all of the foliage from the tree. The caterpillars can eat the leaves of 500 species of trees and plants but prefer oak trees. While most trees will re-foliate after leaves are consumed, continued annual defoliation of plants already under stressful conditions may kill them in two to four years. Further, drastic changes in ecological habitat due to the loss of foliage may lead to the loss of other plants and wildlife. Death to valuable timber may cause an economic impact detrimental to the timber industry and other related industries. Urban area concerns include potential liabilities from dead limbs and trees, and the cost of tree removal. In addition, caterpillar hairs may become skin and respiratory irritants. Caterpillars and their droppings may cause a nuisance in recreational areas. There are approximately 4.4 million acres of forested land in Indiana. About 3.25 million acres, or 80 percent of the trees in those forests, are very susceptible to gypsy moth damage. A variety of plants favorable to gypsy moth also exist in the urban environment. The current threat of spread into northern Indiana comes from the natural spread of the infestation. -30- Reporters' contacts: Russ Grunden, DNR chief public information officer, 317-234-0924, by cell phone at 317-695-6423 or by email at rgrunden@dnr.IN.gov Dr. Robert Waltz, director, DNR Division of Entomology and Plant Pathology, 317-232-4120 or by email at bwaltz@dnr.IN.gov.