A battle plan between the Ohio Agriculture Department (ODA) and invasive tree-eating Gypsy Moths is being mounted for June.
Aerial planes are loaded with green plastic flakes, a synthetic pheromone designed to disrupt the invasive species mating cycle to ward off these moths before they emerge in July.
Gypsy moths were a failed experiment by scientist in 1867 who was working on a silk worm variety. During a storm the netting was ripped and the moths were released into the environment in Massachusetts. They first arrived in Ohio in 1971.
View the informative video to identify these moths that are making a comeback after a dry 2012 season which killed off the fungus that kept their populations under control.
In the caterpillar stage they eat through 300 types of hardwood trees, preferring the Oak tree, and can destroy a forest in three years.
Inspection Manager, David Adkins, with the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) says, “We've been using this product now for over 15 years and over 2 million acres have been treated with it and we've had no side effects from its use. It is a solid material. It is not a mist or a liquid so it is not going to be a spray coming down.”
The ODA sets traps and uses calculations to find the areas that are the worse threat. After a treatment they retest the area for moth populations and record their success by the number of trees they can save.
There are 51 counties in Ohio regulated under a Gypsy Moth Quarantine and they include: Ashland, Ashtabula, Athens, Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Coshocton, Crawford, Cuyahoga, Defiance, Delaware, Erie, Fairfield, Franklin, Fulton, Geauga, Guernsey, Harrison, Henry, Hocking, Holmes, Huron, Jefferson, Knox, Lake, Licking, Lorain, Lucas, Mahoning, Marion, Medina, Monroe, Morgan, Morrow, Muskingum, Noble, Ottawa, Perry, Portage, Richland, Sandusky, Seneca, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Vinton, Washington, Wayne, Williams, and Wood.