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Gypsy moth control

A portion of the Village will be sprayed this spring to to help reduce gypsy moth numbers and slow their spread. The 2009 Gypsy Moth Aerial Spray Map shows affected areas that will be treated in May. Using low flying helicopters, two sprayings will take place approximately one week apart. More information will be posted here when exact dates are available.

The first spray will occur around the middle of May, depending on weather conditions and timing of caterpillar emergence. The second application will follow a week later. Helicopters will fly just over the tops of trees and apply a fine mist of BTK sufficient to lightly cover the foliage.

BTK is not a pesticide, but a naturally occurring bacterium that is not harmful to humans, pets, or the environment. Young caterpillars feeding on treated plant leaves will be killed soon after ingestion.

About Gypsy Moths

Gypsy moth eggs hatch into caterpillars in April or early May. Their bodies are covered with black and brown hairs, and a series of five pairs of blue spots followed by six pairs of red spots. The caterpillar stage frequently strips entire trees of their leaves over wide areas. Older caterpillars do the greatest damage during the last two weeks of June. While oak trees are the most vulnerable species to gypsy moth devastation, caterpillars will feed on up to 500 other types of trees if oak leaves are in short supply.

Detection and Control

Burlap bands can help detect the presence of gypsy moth caterpillars. Using burlap and some twine, an artificial hiding place can be created on the tree trunk. The bands are placed about chest high with the upper portion folded down, leaving the burlap slightly ruffled and loose. Caterpillars congregate between the folds of the burlap and the tree trunk. Trapped caterpillars can either be crushed or swept into buckets of soapy water. Bands are put up after caterpillars hatch and are removed as caterpillars change to moths in July.

Additional Information

For more detailed information about the Gypsy Moth, visit the Trees: Insects and Diseases page or contact Village Forester Kerstin von der Heide at (630) 434-5475.