STATELINE (WIFR) -- The Illinois Department of Agriculture intends to treat about 38,000 acres at nine sites in northern Illinois next week for the destructive gypsy moth.
Infested sites will receive an application of pheromone, a sexual attractant that disrupts the mating of the moth. The pheromone will be aerially-applied, weather permitting, beginning Monday, June 30. Impacted counties include Boone, Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Stephenson, Will and Winnebago.
The gypsy moth is a non-native pest that feasts on more than 250 species of trees and shrubs, but prefers oak leaves. Large populations are capable of stripping plants bare, leaving them vulnerable to secondary insect and disease attacks. Severe defoliation also can cause tree death.
The moth obtained its name because the female, which cannot fly, occasionally will lay her eggs on not only trees, but also moveable objects like cars, campers, firewood, grills and backpacks. When these items are moved, the eggs ride along like a nomadic gypsy, transporting the moth to a new location.
Maps of the treatment sites are posted on the department's website at www.agr.state.il.us. Simply click on "Gypsy Moth" under "Hot Topics" in the middle of the homepage. Funding for the treatments comes from the Slow the Spread program, a joint local, state and federal effort to reduce and control the spread of the Gypsy Moth.