Gypsy moth

A gypsy moth caterpillar walks along partially eaten leaves of a tree in 2007 in Trenton, N.J.

RALEIGH – Baldwin Gap along the Watauga and Ashe border will soon start treating for gypsy moth infestations, according to the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Treatments at Baldwin Gap are scheduled for around June 18, according to the NCDA&CS release.

Baldwin Gap is one of several areas across North Carolina that will be treated. Other areas include the towns of Buxton and Stovall, north of Roxboro and a large area in Surry, Stokes and Rockingham counties.

“We have a total of 11 blocks and 121,638 acres to treat,” said Chis Elder, NCDA&CS Gypsy Moth program manager. “We plan to start around June 2 in Hatteras and spread across to June 18 in Watauga, adding a couple of days to cover possible delays.”

Prior to normal gypsy moth mating periods, low-altitude fixed-wing aircraft will disperse SPLAT Gypsy Moth-Organic infused with the naturally occurring gypsy moth pheromone, the statement said.

“The pheromone is not harmful to humans, animals or plants, and it will not affect other insect species,” the NCDA&CS statement explained. “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 statement said. The treatment will be done in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, according to Elder.

For more information, including maps and a description of the proposed treatment area, go to ncagr.com/gypsymoth or contact NCDA&CS toll free at (800) 206-9333. More immediate updates, including spray start dates, will be posted on Twitter at twitter.com/NCAgriculture.

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