Weather permitting, aerial treatments to disrupt the mating process of gypsy moths in Fulton, Marshall and Wabash counties is set to take place today, according to a news release from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. If treatments do not occur on Friday, they will take place next week.
Planes will treat sites in Indiana after treatments in Ohio are completed, according to IDNR. The treatment date depends on weather and the completion of the Ohio treatment sites.
Treatments typically begin in the early morning hours. During treatments, people may see airplanes flying 75-125 feet above the treetops.
The mating disruption technique has been used 1999 and has proven effective where there is a low-level infestation and female moths are difficult to find.
This year’s mating disruption treatments will be an aerial application of SPLAT GM-Organic — a liquid that carries the scent of the female gypsy moth and falsely indicates an abundance of females in the treated area, according to IDNR. The males are unable to find a female, thus producing no offspring.
The application poses no health threat to people, pets, livestock or other animals, according to IDNR. Promptly washing vehicles with soap and water will remove the product.
Gypsy moths are one of North America's most devastating invasive forest pests. They were brought here from Europe in the 1860s and are capable of defoliating 3 million acres of forest a year. Most trees in Indiana are susceptible to gypsy moth damage. The insect is a threat to wildlife habitat and the timber industry as well, according to the press release.
For more information, call 1-866-NO-EXOTIC (663-9684) or call the local county extension office at 1-888-EXT-INFO (1-888-398-4636).