May 4, 2017

Gypsy moth treatment set for Sunday

A single plane flying over campus will deliver an organic treatment to slow the spread of invasive gypsy moths on campus starting at 6 a.m. Sunday (May 7).

During treatment, a single, yellow plane will be flying 75-125 feet above the treetops. With favorable weather, the treatment is expected to be complete by 7:00am. If weather prevents the treatment, it will be moved to the same time Monday (May 8).

The airplane distributes a spray containing the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki, often referred to as Btk, into the treetops of infested areas. Btk occurs naturally in the soil. It kills gypsy moth caterpillars as they feed on tree leaves by disrupting their digestive systems.

Btk has been used for decades by organic gardeners and has an excellent safety record with people and animals, according to an Indiana Department of Natural Resources news release.

People who live or work near the treatment areas might choose to take common-sense precautions, including staying inside when the plane is flying, and for about 30 minutes after treatments are complete. This gives the material time to settle out of the air and adhere to treetops. 

The non-native gypsy moth is one of North America's most devastating invasive forest pests, according to the DNR release.

For more information, call 1-866-NO-EXOTIC (663-9684) or call the local county extension office at 1-888-EXT-INFO (1-888-398-4636). 

To determine whether a property is in the treatment areas and for more information about gypsy moth, see

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