FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, APRIL 4, 2011
Matt Andresen, manager
NCDA&CS Gypsy Moth Program
(919) 733-6931, ext. 247 or (800) 206-9333
NCDA&CS to treat gypsy moth infestation in Onslow County
RALEIGH - The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will soon start treating a gypsy moth infestation at Hammocks Beach State Park. Treatment is expected to start on or around April 11, depending on weather conditions and insect development.
Three fine-mist applications of the biological pesticide Gypchek will be made two to seven days apart using low-flying helicopters. Gypchek is not harmful to humans, plants or animals, except gypsy moth caterpillars.
Field monitoring activities conducted by NCDA&CS last year determined that a reproducing population of the highly destructive gypsy moth exists in the park. Treatment activities will protect trees and shrubs inside the state park, preserving this outstanding, pristine ecosystem.
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 treatment will be done in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service-Plant Protection and Quarantine program, and the U.S. Forest Service.
A public hearing was held on Jan. 25 to receive input from all stakeholders about treatment options.
For more information, including maps and a description of the proposed treatment area, go to www.ncagr.com/gypsymoth or contact NCDA&CS toll free at (800) 206-9333. More immediate updates, including spray start dates, will be posted on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NCAgriculture.