Aerial spraying for European Gypsy Moth to take place in June
Illinois Department of Agriculture will treat high risk areas in Joliet, Romeoville
The Illinois Department of Agriculture will deploy yellow, fixed wing aircraft and apply the biological product Disrupt II, the chemically copied female pheromone of the EGM, to high risk areas of the county that include parts of Joliet and Romeoville. By saturating the areas with pheromone, males in lightly infested areas are not able to find the females and mating is prevented. This product does not pose a risk to humans, animals, non-target organisms or the environment. Weather pending in June, the applications may occur any day of the week, and the overall treatment should only be a 1 to 2 day event.
The insects originated in Europe and were brought to New England in the mid to late 1800s. Mature females cannot fly, so it has taken more than a century for large gypsy moth populations to move as far as Illinois. The Chicago area has seen Illinois's first wave of damaging moth infestations, but isolated outbreaks have occurred in other parts of the state as well. Gypsy moth populations in any affected area will fluctuate over time.
EGM defoliates multiple species of trees with the huge number of caterpillars that results from an infestation. The caterpillars are most active in May and June when they feed on leaves. After a few years of having its leaves completely stripped-off, a tree will die. Oak trees are most vulnerable to EGM devastation, but the caterpillars will feed on up to 500 other types of trees and shrubs if oak leaves are scarce. The caterpillars are also a tremendous nuisance, as they may render one's yard nearly unusable from mid-June to early July.
Maps of the treatment areas are available online at www.agr.state.il.us/2014-gypsy-moth-maps/.