Posted Tuesday, May 8, 2012 --- 3:30 p.m.
WHAT: Gypsy moth aerial spraying by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s Gypsy Moth Slow the Spread Program
WHEN: Tentative May 9, weather permitting.
WHERE: Selected sites located in Grant, Iowa, Jackson, Lafayette and Vernon counties.
WHY: The spraying is necessary to control the spread of gypsy moth, a destructive and invasive pest that feeds on the leaves of oaks, maples, crabapple, birch and many other species of trees and shrubs.
All of the areas we’ll be spraying in Grant, Iowa, Lafayette and Vernon counties will be receiving their second and last treatment of Btk for the year. Upon completion of this, spraying will be completed for the year in Grant, Iowa and Lafayette counties. Then, we’ll return again at some point in late spring or early summer to Vernon County to spray at an additional site. As for Jackson County, most sites will be receiving their first application. One area will be receiving its second.
Spraying can start as early as sunrise and will continue until the day’s spray plan is complete and as weather conditions allow. Spraying requires calm winds, high humidity and no precipitation.
The planes will fly low, just above the tree tops. It will be loud.
The planes will apply the biological insecticide Foray 48B, which is approved for use in certified organic production or food processing by the Organic Materials Review Institute. The spray will not affect organic certification. The insecticide contains Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki or Btk. Btk is a naturally occurring soil bacterium that is poisonous to gypsy moth caterpillars when consumed. Btk breaks down in sunlight within a few days.
The insecticide is not toxic to people, bees, animals, birds and plants.
People who are uncomfortable or have allergies may wish to stay indoors or leave the area until the spraying is done. Pets or livestock may be frightened by the noise of the low-flying planes, so keep them indoors or keep a close eye on them.
Most sites will receive a second application of Btk about three to five days after the first application.