KOSCIUSKO — Aerial treatments to disrupt the mating process of gypsy moth are scheduled for sites in Fulton, Kosciusko, Porter and Wabash counties this week.
Planes will treat sites in Indiana after treatments in Ohio are completed. The treatment date depends on the weather and completion of treatments in Ohio.
Current scheduling indicates treatment may occur on June 20 or 21. The date will be announced by news release, at gypsymoth.IN.gov and through the DNR gypsy moth Twitter account, twitter.com/INdnrinvasive. Maps of treatment sites and other information are also at gypsymoth.IN.gov.
The treatment typically starts in the early morning and continues until completed or stopped by weather.
This year’s mating-disruption treatments will be an aerial application of a product called SPLAT GM-Organic. SPLAT is a liquid that carries the scent of the female gypsy moth and falsely indicates an abundance of females in an area. The male moths recognize the scent and look for a mate in the wrong place. The males are unable to find a female, fail to mate, and no offspring are produced.
The application poses no health threat to people, pets, livestock or other animals. Washing vehicles promptly with soap and water will remove the product.
The mating-disruption technique has been used in other states and in Indiana since 1999. It has proven effective where there is a low-level infestation and female moths are hard to find.
The gypsy moth, which now has a foothold in some counties in northeast Indiana, was brought to this country from Europe 145 years ago. It is capable of defoliating 3 million acres of forest a year, which is equivalent to 70 percent of Indiana’s forested acreage. Most trees in Indiana’s forests are susceptible to gypsy moth damage. The insect is a threat to wildlife habitat and the timber industry.
Gypsy moth larvae feed on many plants that are present in urban areas as well.