2010 Dane County Gypsy Moth Suppression Program

May 03, 2010
Mark Guthmiller, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (608) 275-3223 Darren Marsh, Dane County Land and Water Resources (608) 224-3766
Land & Water Resources

MADISON, May 3, 2010 – Aerial spraying to combat the potentially defoliating effects of the gypsy moth could begin in Dane County around May 10th according to Darren Marsh, Parks Director for Dane County and the county coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Gypsy Moth Suppression Program. This is the fourth year Dane County has participated in the state suppression program; however, the Madison area had similar treatments from 1998-2003 as part of the federal Slow the Spread Program.

There are 47 treatment areas and approximately 3,015 acres in Dane County scheduled for an aerial spray treatment this spring. Exactly when those sites will be sprayed can only be estimated right now, according to Marsh. The treatment areas include locations throughout Dane County, including City of Fitchburg (2 areas, 80 ac.), City of Madison (35 areas, 1,862 ac.), City of Middleton (1 area, 483 ac.), City of Monona (3 areas; 244 ac.), City of Sun Prairie (2 areas, 66 ac.), Town of Middleton (2 areas, 141 ac.), Town of Pleasant Springs – Lake Kegonsa State Park (2 areas, 139 ac.).

Mark Guthmiller, Regional Coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources’ gypsy moth program says, “It all comes down to the weather.” The caterpillars must be of a certain size and the leaves on which they feed must also be large enough so that there’s a good cover to ‘catch’ the spray when it comes down. Both of those factors are influenced by the weather. “Then, when the caterpillars are the right size and the leaves are big enough, we have to have the right weather conditions just to get the planes in the air,” Guthmiller added “ Due to the early spring we are about two weeks a head of last year. ”

“People living near a treatment area can be notified through daily updates when treatment is planned for a given day,” Guthmiller advised. “They can call our toll-free information line 1-800-642-MOTH (6684) for daily updates as we get closer to our anticipated treatment dates, or they can receive updates via an electronic e-mail list.” Site specific maps of the spray blocks can be accessed by going to the
gypsy moth web portal at http://gypsymoth.wi.gov and clicking on Dane County on the 2010 WI Cooperative Gypsy Moth Program Treatment Area link (yellow and blue Wisconsin map on right side of the page). To subscribe for e-mail notification, visit the above website and click on the DNR Gypsy Moth Spray Email Sign Up Link just under the WI maps in the gray shaded area.

Expect to hear loud low flying planes conducting the spray treatment. Similar to last year the planes will be either a yellow air tractor spray plane or a red and grey twin engine planes. The spraying typically begins in the early morning when weather conditions are generally most favorable, but it can happen at any time of the day if the wind is light and there’s no rain in the immediate forecast. The spray treatment uses a biological insecticide with the active ingredient Btk. Btk is a naturally-occurring soil bacteria that, when eaten by gypsy moth caterpillars, causes them to stop feeding and die. Btk is generally not harmful to people, pets or other wild species. In fact, the Btk formulation to be used this year has been listed as acceptable for use in organic production by the Organic Materials Review Institute. However, people who are concerned may wish to avoid areas to be sprayed on the day that spraying occurs or stay indoors during and for 30 minutes following the spray.
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