ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) will begin aerial spray treatments on Tuesday, May 4, 2021, at five sites in Wicomico County and one site in Worcester County in an effort to control gypsy moth populations in the area. Gypsy moth is an invasive pest that destroys forest and shade trees.
The department will apply Foray 48B, a formulation of Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.), via helicopter (Bell OH58, tail number: N655HA, color: white with red and blue accents). B.t. is a naturally occurring bacteria found in soils worldwide. It is a bacterial insecticide, not a chemical, and is only harmful to a very limited variety of organisms. All treatments are scheduled for May 4 at the following locations:
- Wicomico County – Salisbury, Spray Block WI117
- Wicomico County – Salisbury, Spray Block WI129
- Wicomico County – Salisbury, Spray Block WI133
- Wicomico County – Salisbury, Spray Block WI140
- Wicomico County – Salisbury, Spray Block WI159
- Worcester County – Whaleyville, Spray Block WO001
Treatments will begin around 6 a.m. and should take two to three hours to complete. In the event of inclement weather, treatments will be rescheduled for a later date. Maps of the treatment sites and spray schedules can be found on the department’s website. All property owners directly affected by the treatments have been notified by letter.
Every year, the department monitors the presence and severity of gypsy moth infestations around the state and assesses potential damage and tree loss. Predators, parasites, and diseases often kill gypsy moths. When the gypsy moths’ natural enemies fail to suppress high infestations, the department works with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, local governments, and landowners to conduct aerial insecticide treatments to protect and preserve forest and shade trees.
Visit MDA’s website for more information on gypsy moth and the department’s Gypsy Moth Cooperative Suppression Program. For questions about treatments, please call the Gypsy Moth Suppression Information Line at (410) 841-2797. Marylanders are also encouraged to follow the department’s Gypsy Moth Twitter account, @MDGypsyMoth, for treatment updates.
–Megan Guilfoyle, Maryland Department of Agriculture