FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, JUNE 3, 2011
NCDA&CS Gypsy Moth Program Manager
(919) 733-6931, ext. 247 or (800) 206-9333
NCDA&CS to treat gypsy moth infestations in Caswell,
Granville and Rockingham counties
RALEIGH -- The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will soon treat four localized gypsy moth infestations in Caswell, Granville and Rockingham counties in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service and the Gypsy Moth Slow the Spread Foundation Inc. The treatments are anticipated to take place between June 9 and 15, depending on weather conditions and insect development.
Last summer and fall, field monitoring activities at these four locations showed that a reproducing population of the highly destructive gypsy moth exists and represents a threat to local deciduous forests at the following locations:
- Two blocks consisting of 3,843 acres in Caswell County located three miles north of Yanceyville, and 9,111 acres three miles south of Semora.
- One 1,198-acre block in Granville County located near the Jonathan Crossroads community. Grassy Creek Virgilina and Cornwall roads run through the southern and eastern portions of the block.
- One 1,251-acre block in Rockingham County located at the intersection of Mayfield and Guerrant Springs roads, just north of U.S. 29, in the northeastern portion of the county.
Mating disruption was determined to be the best option for these treatment blocks. Prior to the time that adult gypsy moths would normally mate, low-altitude fixed-wing aircraft will apply miniature plastic flakes infused with the naturally occurring gypsy moth pheromone.
Upon application, the gypsy moth pheromone saturates the treatment block so that male gypsy moths are not able to follow the natural pheromone scent trails released by female gypsy moths. This decreases mating success and reduces the gypsy moth population. The pheromone is not harmful to humans, animals or plants, and it will not affect other insect species.
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, especially of the more favored host species such as oaks.
Gypsy moth caterpillars can also pose health concerns for people with respiratory problems. The caterpillar hairs and droppings may cause severe allergic reactions in areas with a high density of gypsy moths.
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 spread of the gypsy moth into uninfected N.C. areas.
Public hearings were held prior to the scheduled aerial treatment to receive input from landowners in, and near the treatment block.
For more information, including maps and a description of the proposed treatment areas, go to http://www.ncagr.com/gypsymoth/ or contact NCDA&CS toll free at (800) 206-9333.