Gypsy moth treatment to take place later this month

Published: Jun. 17, 2020 at 1:31 PM CDT
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Parts of northern Illinois will be treated for the destructive Gypsy Moth by the Illinois Department of Agriculture on June 25 and 26.

Each year, the department works with the US Forest Service to treat for the pest, weather permitting.

The gypsy moth is a non-native pest that feasts on more than 250 species of trees and shrubs, but its preferred food source is oak leaves, according to the state Department of Agriculture.

Large populations are capable of stripping plants bare, leaving them vulnerable to secondary insect and disease attacks. Severe defoliation also can cause tree death.

Male gypsy moths are brown with black markings and have a wingspan of an inch-and-a-half. Female gypsy moths are slightly larger and typically white or cream-colored. The females cannot fly because of the weight of their eggs.

Unlike the emerald ash borer, another non-native pest which feeds exclusively on ash trees, the gypsy moth is not a picky eater. It will devour almost anything leafy and green.

More than 9,000 acres in the city of Oregon will be treated for Moth Gypsy mating disruption with a pheromone application, according to proposed treatments scheduled by the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

The treatments will take place in parts of Jo Daviess, Kendall, Ogle and Will counties and will cover an area of approximately 24,684 acres. The pheromone product, Splat GM-Organic, serves as a sexual attractant that confuses male gypsy moths and prevents them from breeding.

"This is an aerial application using yellow ‘Air – tractor’ airplanes. The product used is organic, and biodegradable made entirely of food grade materials. It is not harmful to humans, pets, wildlife, nor other insects," according to the department.

Maps and a list of the treatment sites are posted on the department’s website

Up to the minute updates on these treatments will be shared on the department's Facebook page

Anyone with questions regarding the gypsy moth treatment schedule are urged to contact the Department of Agriculture’s DeKalb field office at (815) 787-5476.