INDIANAPOLIS -- Aerial treatments to slow the spread of gypsy moths are planned to begin the week of May 9 at sites in Kosciusko, LaPorte, St. Joseph and Whitley counties.
If weather is favorable, treatments could begin on Monday, May 9. The schedule could be delayed if weather conditions change or leaf development slows.
One site each in Kosciusko, LaPorte, St. Joseph, and Whitley Counties will receive two treatments, spaced four to 10 days apart.
During treatments, people will see a yellow airplane flying 75-125 feet above the treetops, starting at sunrise and continuing through the day as long as weather and flight schedules permit. With favorable weather, treatments should be completed by late morning or early afternoon.
The airplanes distribute a spray containing the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki, often referred to as Btk, into the treetops of infested areas where gypsy moth caterpillars feed. Btk occurs naturally in soil. Btk kills gypsy moth caterpillars as they feed on tree leaves by disrupting their digestive systems.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources says Btk has been used for decades by organic gardeners and has an excellent safety record with people and animals. People who live or work near the treatment areas might choose to take common-sense precautions, including staying inside when the planes are flying, and for about 30 minutes after treatments are complete. This gives the material time to settle out of the air and adhere to treetops.
Additional treatments to slow the spread of gypsy moth are planned for mid to late June in Fulton, Kosciusko, Marshall and Starke counties.
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).