Arial spraying for gypsy moth caterpillars (copy)

The state plans to begin aerial spraying for gypsy moth caterpillars in western Wisconsin as early as May, according to the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

Residents of 16 western Wisconsin counties, including Dunn County, can expect to see and hear loud, low-flying planes as early as sunrise starting in early-mid May, according to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

Small, yellow planes will be treating for invasive gypsy moth caterpillars.

These non-native pests defoliate many kinds of trees and plants during their caterpillar stage, causing stress and potentially tree death.

Treatment efforts are focused in western Wisconsin where gypsy moth populations are low or beginning to build, in an attempt to slow their spread.

The harmful effects of gypsy moths include the cost of removing dead trees and potential loss of property value. Caterpillars shed their skins several times as they feed, and these bristly skins can irritate eyes, skin, and the respiratory system

DATCP will be treating the following counties in 2019: Barron, Buffalo, Burnett, Crawford, Chippewa, Douglas, Dunn, Eau Claire, Iowa, Grant, Green, La Crosse, Lafayette, Pepin, Vernon and Washburn, according to the DATCP.

Treatments are expected to begin in southern Wisconsin in mid-May and end in northern Wisconsin during July.

Maps of treatment areas are available at https://datcpgis.wi.gov/maps/?viewer=gm.

Planes may start applying as early as 5 a.m., flying just above treetops over treatment sites, and continue until finished with the day’s plan or as long as weather conditions remain favorable.

Spraying may last into the late morning or afternoon and may be done on weekends.

In mid-May to early June, the planes will spray Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki (Btk), targeting gypsy moth caterpillars. Btk is a naturally-occurring soil bacteria that kills gypsy moth caterpillars feeding on canopy foliage.

Btk is not toxic to people, bees, pets, or other animals. However, some people with severe allergies may wish to stay indoors during nearby treatment applications.

Btk is used in certified organic food production.

In late June to early July, planes will spray an organic, biodegradable mating disruptor containing gypsy moth pheromone, targeting adult male moths. It inhibits the adult male gypsy moth’s ability to locate females.

To receive e-mail notifications about treatment plans, sign up at datcp.wi.gov/Pages/GypsyMoth.aspx

To hear a recorded message detailing plans day to day, call 1-800-642-MOTH (6684).

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