Spraying is scheduled for this week in Swanton against the invasive gypsy moth. Treatment by aerial application is slated for northeast Swanton and Valleywood on Thursday.
Treatments are administered using a low-flying aircraft that flies just above tree tops. High humidity, low temperature, and minimal wind are crucial for a successful application. Treatment will most likely take place during early morning hours.
The areas will be treated with Foray 48B which is Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki (Btk). Btk is not toxic to humans, mammals, birds, fish, honey bees or many beneficial insects, according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Btk needs alkaline conditions to release the toxin, which are present in the stomach of the larvae. It could also impact some other butterflies or moths if their larvae or feeding.
As with the application of any control product, people, pets or domestic animals with known health concerns may wish to avoid exposure by staying indoors during the spray operation and until the Btk product is dry (usually 30 minutes). Foray 48B has been approved for organic crop production.
Treatments on a total of 2,517 acres will also be administered in Fulton, Auglaize, Cuyahoga, Hancock, Lorain, Lucas, Paulding, Seneca, and Williams counties. They will begin in mid-May, as larva and leaf development reaches the optimal threshold for treatment.
In its caterpillar stage, the gypsy moth feeds on the leaves of over 300 different tree and shrub species and is especially fond of oak. A healthy tree can usually withstand only two years of defoliation before it is permanently damaged or dies.
Ohioans can view maps of treatment blocks at www.agri.ohio.gov. When the project begins, daily updates on treatment progress across the state will be available on the website or by calling 614-387-0907 or 614-728-6400.