FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, APRIL 10, 2007
NCDA&CS Gypsy Moth Program Manager
(919) 733-6930, ext. 247
NCDA&CS to treat gypsy moth infestations in three counties
RALEIGH - The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will soon be treating four localized gypsy moth infestations in Halifax, Warren and Caldwell counties in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service and the Gypsy Moth Slow the Spread Foundation Inc. Treatments are anticipated to begin April 16, depending on weather conditions and location.
Field monitoring activities conducted by NCDA&CS last year determined that reproducing populations of the highly destructive gypsy moth exist in these counties and represent a threat to hardwoods.
Two fine mist applications of a biological pesticide, Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki, will be made five to seven days apart by low altitude fixed-wing aircraft. Bt(k) is harmful only to caterpillars who consume it.
Treatment areas are as follows:
The Halifax County spray block consists of 380 acres south of Weldon. The Roanoke River is located about one-half mile north of the block. U.S. 301, train tracks and several small roads traverse the block. This is mainly a residential area with some businesses, churches, agricultural fields and forested land dotting the landscape. Weldon High School is located outside of the block on the west side.
The Macon East spray block of 361 acres is located about seven miles south of the Virginia state line in Warren County. Portions of U.S. 158, Old Macon Highway and Eaton Ferry Road are located inside the block. Warrenton is about eight miles to the southwest.
The Macon West block of 413 acres is located nearly four miles south of the Virginia state line in Warren County. Oakville Road is the only state road in the block. Warrenton is located about six miles to the southwest.
The Granite Falls block consists of 732 acres in Hudson in Caldwell County. Caldwell Community College is located outside of the northwest corner of the block. Hudson Middle School and a portion of U.S. 321 are located within the area, but will not be sprayed. The southern and western end of the block is heavily populated with a mix of commercial, industrial and residential occupants. The northern and eastern sides of the block are more sparsely populated.
Gypsy moths feed on the leaves of more than 300 different species of trees and shrubs, predominantly hardwoods. When areas become heavily infested, trees may be completely stripped of foliage, leaving entire forests more susceptible to attacks from other pests. Gypsy moth caterpillars can also pose public health concerns for people with respiratory problems. In high-density gypsy moth populations, the caterpillar hairs and droppings may cause severe allergic reactions.
NCDA&CS has addressed spot introductions of the gypsy moth across North Carolina since the 1970s. The department is working with eight other states through the Gypsy Moth Slow the Spread Foundation Inc. and with other state and federal agencies to reduce the expansion of the gypsy moth into uninfested areas of the state.
Public hearings were held prior to the scheduled aerial treatments to receive input from residents.
For more information, including maps of the proposed treatment areas, go to www.ncagr.com/plantind/plant/entomol/gmintro.htm or contact NCDA&CS toll free at (800) 206-9333.