Please see the following publication for advice on pruning ornamental trees and shrubs: http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/HO-4.pdf
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
402 W. Washington St. W255 B
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2748
May, 2003 is an anniversary of sorts for entomologists from the Indiana
Department of Natural Resources. For 25 years, they have repelled invading
gypsy moth armies, in a seasonal battle to slow the spread of a leaf eating
tree destroying pest that is moving in from Michigan and Ohio.
The first of this year's treatments to destroy isolated infestations of gypsy moths will begin early Thursday morning in small areas of Kosciusko, Marshall, St. Joseph and Whitley counties, weather permitting. If rain or high wind prevents Thursday's treatment, it will be scheduled for the next suitable day.
Two treatments separated by seven to 10 days are required to eradicate the gypsy moth larvae in each infested area. Treatments in infested areas of Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties and South Bend will begin next week.
Several treatments to slow the spread of gypsy moth are planned in northern Indiana this year. A complete list is found at http://www.in.gov/dnr/entomolo/pdfs/EA2003.pdf.
At about 6 a.m., an airplane will begin applying a bacteria commonly found in soil to the treetops of infested areas. The bacterium shuts down the digestive system of gypsy moth caterpillars so they can't digest leaves.
The bacterium, called Btk, is short for Bacillus thuringiensis (var. kurstaki). Btk is not harmful to humans or pets.
A small number of people experience minor eye or sinus irritation if they are directly exposed. People who live or work near the treatment areas can take common sense precautions, including avoiding direct exposure to themselves or their belongings.
People in treatment areas who are concerned about sensitivity to the treatment may choose to adjust their times outdoors to avoid exposure and stay indoors until one-half to one hour after the plane has completed its last flight over the area.
Pet food and water or other food or drink should be covered or kept indoors until one-half hour after the spraying.
The airplane is a crop duster that flies about 50-feet above treetops to precisely apply the Btk in the treatment areas. The plane will make turns over adjacent areas but will not release any Btk over those areas.
People with questions about this project may call Indianapolis toll-free 1-877-INFODNR (463-6367) between 8:15 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., beginning Wednesday or contact the county extension office. A complete environmental assessment is available at http://www.in.gov/dnr/entomolo/pdfs/EA2003.pdf.
Thursday's treatment areas and approximate times
* 6 a.m. -- Whitley County. Churubusco City Park (a map of the treatment area is at http://www.in.gov/dnr/entomolo/images/Churubusco.jpg) followed by treatment of a 3-acre private property 3 miles northwest of Churubusco just off U.S. 33.
* 6:45 a.m. -- Kosciusko County. 57 acres at Pierceton, around the intersection of St. Rd. 13 and Ryerson Rd. A map is available at http://www.in.gov/dnr/entomolo/images/Pierceton2.jpg
* 7 a.m. -- St. Joseph County, an 8-acre private property one-half mile east of the St. Rd. 331 and Shively Rd. intersection. This will be followed by a treatment of an 8-acre private property in Marshall County, 3 miles west of Bremen and one mile south of the St. Joseph/Marshall County line.
Background on the gypsy moth
The gypsy moth, which now has a foothold in some counties in northern Indiana, was first brought to the United States from Europe over 100 years ago.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has held back introduction of this pest throughout Indiana for more than 20 years. Now that the gypsy moth is within Indiana's borders, however, residents can expect to see more of this pest throughout the next decade.
For the past 25 years, Indiana has delayed gypsy moths from becoming more widespread through aerial sprays wherever isolated infestations have been detected. Because of this delay, as the gypsy moth moves through the state, the DNR will be able to incorporate newer and safer methods that will preserve the long-term health of Indiana's woodlands and urban forests.
The gypsy moth is the most serious forest and urban landscape pest in the United States. It now occupies the northeastern United States, a portion of northeast Ohio and the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Gypsy moth movement occurs naturally along the front of the generally infested area. It typically advances at a rate of approximately 13 miles a year. The gypsy moth is capable of defoliating 3 million acres of forest a year in the United States; the approximate equivalent to 70% of Indiana's forested acreage.
Gypsy moth caterpillars kill trees as by eating all of the foliage from the tree. The caterpillars can eat the leaves of 500 species of trees and plants but prefer oak trees. While most trees will re-foliate after leaves are consumed, continued annual defoliation of plants already under stressful conditions may kill them in two to four years.
Further, drastic changes in ecological habitat due to the loss of foliage may lead to the loss of other plants and wildlife. Death to valuable timber may cause an economic impact detrimental to the timber industry and other related industries.
Urban area concerns include potential liabilities from dead limbs and trees, and the cost of tree removal. In addition, caterpillar hairs may become skin and respiratory irritants. Caterpillars and their droppings may cause a nuisance in recreational areas.
There are approximately 4.4 million acres of forested land in Indiana. About 3.25 million acres, or 80 percent of the trees in those forests, are very susceptible to gypsy moth damage. A variety of plants favorable to gypsy moth also exist in the urban environment. The current threat of spread into northern Indiana comes from the natural spread of the infestation.
For more information: Stephen Sellers, Department of Natural Resources, office: 317/232-4003; pager: 317-393-0526
Gayle Jansen, Division of Entomology and Plant Pathology, 317-233-3842
Please see the following website (http://www.invasive.org/browse/subject.cfm?sub=165) for fact sheets from various websites regarding gypsy moths.
The information given herein is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service is implied. Any person using products listed assumes full responsibility for their use in accordance with current direction of the manufacturer. Purdue University is an equal opportunity/equal access institution.
Information listed is valid only for the state of Indiana.