WARRENTON, NC April 15, 2013 — The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will treat gypsy moth infestations this week in Warren County on portions of Embro Game Land, which is owned and managed by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
The treatments will occur between April 17 and 26, depending on weather conditions and insect development. A low-flying helicopter will perform two fine-mist applications of the biological pesticide Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki, or Bt(k). The applications will occur in the early mornings, from 6 to 9 a.m., and four to 10 days apart. To avoid disruption to turkey hunters and other game land users, treatments will not happen on Saturdays.
Bt(k) is not harmful to humans or animals. It is harmful only to caterpillars that consume it. People with severe allergies should stay indoors during treatment, as the chemical may cause a reaction.
The 919-acre treatment block is located about 10 miles southeast of Warrenton. The block is primarily rural, dominated by large expanses of uninhabited woodlands. It encompasses a portion of the Embro Game Land along Fishing Creek.
Field monitoring activities conducted by NCDA&CS last year determined that a reproducing population of the highly destructive gypsy moth is threatening hardwood trees. Landowners and other interested parties gave input at public hearings earlier this year.
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, making 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.
The treatment will be done in collaboration with the Gypsy MothSlow-the-Spread Foundation, Inc., a cooperative effort with 10 other states and the U.S. Forest Service.
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 1-800-206-9333. For more immediate updates,including spray start dates, follow the department on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NCAgriculture.