Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Spraying to start to fight invasive gypsy moth

Original: No Original CaptiPublished: Phocourtesy Chalet Nursery   Garden Shops Female gypsy moths lay eggs tree trunk. Eggs laid
Published: Photo courtesy of Chalet Nursery & Garden Shops Female gypsy moths lay eggs on a tree trunk. Eggs laid at this time of the summer will hatch next spring into thousands of caterpillars that can defoliate tree canopies and gardens. Landscape experts are advising homeowners to find and remove as many of the egg masses as possible before they hatch.
 MONTGOMERY — Those helicopters and airplanes in the sky here Thursday are signaling an attack — not on people, but rather gypsy moths.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture and an organization called the Slow the Spread Foundation are teaming up to do aerial treatments to control the European Gypsy Moth.
The treatment beginning Thursday will be in a 12-acre swath of riverside land that includes South Broadway Park in Montgomery. The area is on the east side of the Fox River between the Montgomery Dam and Ashland Avenue, and includes a popular stretch of the Fox River Trail.

They also will be spraying an area of about 1,000 acres along the Fox River in Oswego, north and east of the downtown area.

Weather permitting, aerial spraying, utilizing helicopters and airplanes, will start Thursday morning, with respraying to take place on or around May 23, according to a press release from the Fox Valley Park District.

The spraying will take about three to four hours.

The gypsy moth is an invasive forest pest from Europe and one of the most damaging tree defoliators in the United States. Gypsy moth caterpillars feed on leaves of many kinds of trees, although they like oaks and maples the best.

The feeding leads to defoliation that weakens and can ultimately kill trees in large numbers.

According to an Illinois Department of Agriculture website, Gypsy moths don’t belong in North America. They are native to parts of Europe, Asia, and northern Africa and were first brought to the U.S. in the 1860s by a French scientist named Trouvelot. He wanted to breed gypsy moths with silk moths with the hopes of creating a lucrative silk market in this country.

He chose gypsy moths because, unlike silk moths which are very particular about what they eat, gypsy moths feed on leaves of more than 500 types of trees and shrubs, the Department of Agriculture said. Trouvelot believed that a cross between the two moth species would create a hardy silk-producer that would be easy to raise and inexpensive to feed.

But Trouvelot did not realize that silk moths and gypsy moths are not even in the same insect family and cannot breed with each other.

“Although his dreams of creating a lucrative silk market in the United States were never fulfilled, Trouvelot did unintentionally start another multi-million dollar industry, that of gypsy moth control,” the Department of Agriculture said.

According to the department, there are several treatment areas outlined throughout the western suburbs. One is a 5,079-acre parcel that includes a good chunk of the Fermi National Accelerator property; another is a big, 33,023-acre parcel in parts of Warrenville, Naperville and Woodridge, that runs roughly from Interstate 355 on the east, Route 59 on the west, Route 38 on the north and almost into Bolingbrook on the south.

Aerial spray treatments have been conducted in Illinois annually for about 30 years. Applications are generally limited to forested areas, and residential and agricultural areas with significant tree density, avoiding all other land and water designations.

All precautions are made to ensure the safety of everyone involved in these operations, in the air and on the ground, as well as landowners and users, and properties and facilities. For more information, visit


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