FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, MARCH 30, 2010
Matt Andresen, manager
NCDA&CS Gypsy Moth Program
(919) 733-6931, ext. 247; (800) 206-9333
NCDA&CS to treat gypsy moth infestations in Caswell,
Currituck, Onslow, Warren and Wayne counties
RALEIGH — The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will soon treat five localized gypsy moth infestations in Caswell, Currituck, Onslow, Warren and Wayne counties. Treatments will be done in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Heath Inspection Service and the Gypsy Moth Slow the Spread Foundation Inc.
The Onslow and Wayne County treatments are anticipated to start on or around April 7, depending on weather conditions and insect development. Treatments in Caswell, Currituck and Warren counties are expected to start on or around April 14, depending on conditions.
Public hearings were held in January and February to receive input from landowners in the treatment block areas.
Field monitoring activities conducted by NCDA&CS last year determined that a reproducing population of the highly destructive gypsy moth exists in these counties and represents a threat to hardwoods.
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 yard trees and entire forests more susceptible to attacks from other pests. Severe infestations often lead to tree death. Gypsy moth caterpillars can also pose public health concerns for people with respiratory problems. In areas with 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 10 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.
In Onslow and Currituck counties, three fine-mist applications of the biological pesticide Gypchek will be made five to 10 days apart. In Caswell, Currituck, Warren and Wayne counties, two fine-mist applications of the biological pesticide Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki, or Bt(k), will be made five to seven days apart. Low-flying helicopters or fixed-wing aircraft will apply the treatments.
Neither Bt(k) nor Gypchek is harmful to humans or animals. Bt(k) is harmful only to caterpillars that consume it, while Gypchek is harmful only to gypsy moth caterpillars. For people with severe allergic tendencies, Bt(k) may cause a slight, temporary allergic reaction. Such persons are advised to stay indoors during treatments.
For more information, including maps and a description of the proposed treatment area, go to www.ncagr.gov/gypsymoth or contact NCDA&CS toll free at (800) 206-9333. For updates, including start dates for treatments, follow the department on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NCAgriculture.