FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012
NCDA&CS Gypsy Moth program manager
919-707-3743 or 800-206-9333
NCDA&CS to treat gypsy moth infestation
in Caswell and Rockingham counties
RALEIGH -- The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will soon treat a localized gypsy moth infestation in Caswell and Rockingham counties in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service and the Gypsy Moth Slow the Spread Foundation Inc. Because of record-setting warm temperatures, the treatment is anticipated to occur significantly ahead of schedule, between May 7 and May 30, depending on weather conditions and insect development.
Last summer and fall, field monitoring activities at this location found a reproducing population of the highly destructive gypsy moth, which represents a threat to local deciduous forests. Nearly 1,600 acres will be treated in Caswell and Rockingham counties, about two miles east of Ruffin.
Mating disruption was determined to be the best option for this treatment block. Prior to the time adult gypsy moths 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 the females.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 uninfested 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 area, go to http://www.ncagr.com/gypsymoth/ or contact NCDA&CS toll free at 800-206-9333.