Gypsy Moth Treatment

The state of Illinois recently unveiled a plan to combat an insect killing local trees, and it’s not the infamous Emerald Ash Borer Beetle.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture wants to treat the destructive gypsy moth coming into our area.

Gypsy moths are a non-native insect that feed on more than 250 different host plants, but they show a preference for oak trees.

Once a plant is stripped by the moths, it becomes more vulnerable to secondary insect attacks and disease. Severe moth attacks can kill trees outright.

The treatment plan includes two helicopter applications in May of a natural bacteria called BtK to kill moth larvae. Then in late June, airplanes will deposit pheromone flakes to prevent breeding.

“It’s not a pesticide or a chemical, it’s an actual mating pheromone specific to gypsy moths,” said Scott Shermer, Plant and Pesticide Specialist Supervisor for the Illinois Department of Agriculture. “It’s intended to confuse the male moths. It will actually make the whole area smell like a female moth to the male moth, so they can’t single out the specific females and mate with them.”

More than 33,000 acres in Naperville, as well as more than 5,000 acres at nearby FermiLab are included in the treatment plan, making Naperville the largest area of treatment in Northern Illinois.

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