Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Illinois Department of Agriculture to begin Gypsy Moth Treatments

May 13, 2009

Applications scheduled in LaSalle, Lee, Ogle and Stephenson counties

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - The Illinois Department of Agriculture is scheduled to begin its 2009 Gypsy Moth treatment program Tuesday, May 19.

Weather permitting, BTK, a safe and environmentally-friendly insecticide, will be aerially applied to parts of LaSalle, Lee, Ogle and Stephenson counties beginning at daybreak.

The largest treatment site, 400 acres, is located east of Oglesby in Matthiessen State Park. Other sites to be treated include a rural area along Paulsen Rd. west of Dixon in Lee County, part of the Lowden-Miller State Forest in Ogle County and a rural area south of Lena along Route 73, U.S. 20 and Goddard Rd. in Stephenson County. Together, the sites total about 950 acres.

The work should take no longer than a day to complete. However, each site will receive two applications a week apart.

The treatments have been timed to coincide with the emergence of the destructive moth's caterpillar. However, specific application dates could be affected by wind or rain. Maps of the treatment sites are posted on the department's website at www.agr.state.il.us.

BTK, or Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki, is a naturally-occurring bacteria commonly found in soil that has been safely used in the United States as an environmentally-friendly alternative to chemical pesticides for more than 50 years. It is non-toxic to humans, other mammals, birds, fish and most insects, including honeybees and lady bugs.

Gypsy Moths feast on the foliage of trees and shrubs, and large populations are capable of stripping plants bare. They obtained their name because the female moth cannot fly and typically lays her eggs on objects near where she is feeding, including campers, grills and backpacks. When these items are moved, the eggs ride along like a nomadic gypsy.

Other infested sites in northern Illinois will receive an application of pheromone, a sexual attractant that confuses male gypsy moths and prevents them from breeding. Those applications are scheduled in late June.

Funding for the treatments comes from the Slow the Spread program, a joint local, state and federal effort to reduce and control the spread of the Gypsy Moth.

Maps of the Treatment Sites:
General Overview


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