RALEIGH, N.C. — The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is expected to start treatments June 3 for a gypsy moth infestation in a 2,080-acre block near the Lamsburg community in Surry County.
Bryant Road goes through the middle, with Interstate-77 running along the eastern edge of this block. There are 163 residences in the area. In 2019, a male moth was captured in this block. In 2020, 25 gypsy moths were captured, signifying that a reproducing population is present. One application of mating disruption is planned.
“Treatments are weather dependent, but they are timed to happen prior to normal gypsy moth mating periods,” said Allison Ballantyne, NCDA&CS Gypsy Moth program manager. “If weather conditions are suitable, the planned treatment is expected to take a day.”
Low-altitude fixed-wing aircraft will disperse SPLAT Gypsy Moth-Organic infused with the naturally occurring gypsy moth pheromone.
The presence of the pheromone makes male gypsy moths unable to follow the natural pheromone scent trails released by the females. This causes a decrease in mating success and reduces the gypsy moth population. The pheromone is not harmful to humans, animals or plants, and it will not affect other insect species.
Gypsy moths feed on the leaves of more than 300 different species of trees and shrubs, predominantly oaks and hardwoods. When areas become heavily infested, trees may be completely stripped of foliage, leaving yard trees and entire forests more susceptible to attacks from other pests. Severe infestations often lead to tree death. Gypsy moth caterpillars can also pose public health concerns for people with respiratory problems. In areas with high-density gypsy moth populations, the caterpillar hairs and droppings may cause severe allergic reactions.
NCDA&CS has addressed spot introductions of the gypsy moth across North Carolina since the 1970s. The treatment will be done in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service.
Homeowners in the treatment areas were notified about these infestations as well as treatment options in January, and public comments from residents in the treatment areas were solicited.
For more information, or to request treatment notification via text or email, go to https://www.ncagr.gov/GypsyMoths/treator contact NCDA&CS toll free at 800-206-9333. Updates, including spray start dates, will also be posted on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NCAgriculture.