NORTHERN INDIANA — Aerial treatments to disrupt the mating process of gypsy moths are scheduled for sites in Fulton, Kosciusko, Marshall and Starke counties this week.
The plan brings treatment planes to Indiana after they complete treatments in Ohio. The treatment date depends on weather and completion in Ohio.
Maps of treatment sites and other information are also at the website.
Successful application of the treatment is dependent upon the lack of high wind or rain. The treatment will start in the early morning and continue until completed or stopped by weather.
The mating-disruption process consists of dropping small plastic flakes from an airplane. The flakes carry the scent of the female gypsy moth and falsely indicate an abundance of females in the area. The male moths recognize the scent on the flakes and look for a mate in the wrong place. The males, being misled, fail to mate, and no offspring are produced to eat the tree leaves the next year.
The application poses no health threat to people, pets, livestock or other animals. Washing vehicles promptly with soap and water removes the flakes.
The mating-disruption technique has been used in other states and in Indiana since 1999. It has proved effective where there is very 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, according to Phil Marshall, DNR forest health specialist.
“The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has successfully held back introductions of this pest throughout Indiana for more than 30 years,” Marshall said. “Now that the gypsy moth is within Indiana’s borders, however, residents can expect to see more of this pest throughout the next decade.”
The gypsy moth is the most serious forest and urban landscape pest in the United States. It now occupies the northeastern part of the country, a portion of northeast Ohio, the lower peninsula of Michigan and the eastern portion of Wisconsin.
The gypsy moth is capable of defoliating three million acres of forest a year, which is equivalent to 70 percent of Indiana’s forested acreage. Most trees in Indiana forests are susceptible to gypsy moth damage. The urban environment is also home to a variety of plants favorable to gypsy moths.
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 and other related industries.
For more information, call (1866) 663-9684.
To view all DNR news releases, please see the DNR website.