SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Weather permitting, the Illinois Department of Agriculture will begin its 2006 Gypsy Moth treatment program Wednesday, May 17.
At daybreak, helicopters are scheduled to apply BTK to treatment sites near the DuPage County communities of Wood Dale, Bensenville and Addison. They then will treat parts of Oak Brook and Hinsdale before flying to Cook County, where River Forest, Riverside, Lyons, Forest Park and Westchester and will be sprayed. The first treatments will conclude with applications of BTK to sites including Warrenville in DuPage County, Geneva and St. Charles in Kane and Elgin and Hoffman Estates in Cook.
Each site will receive a second treatment the following week. The same schedule will be followed.
The treatment program has been timed to coincide with the emergence of the destructive moths’caterpillar. However, specific application dates could be affected by wind or rain. Maps of the treatment sites are posted on the Internet at www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/gypsymoth.
BTK, or Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki, is a naturally-occurring bacteria commonly found in soil that has been safely used in the United States as an environmentally-friendly alternative to chemical pesticides for more than 40 years. It is non-toxic to humans, other mammals, birds, fish and most insects, including honeybees and lady bugs.
Gypsy Moths feast on the foliage of trees and shrubs, and large populations are capable of stripping plants bare. They obtained their name because the female moth cannot fly and typically lays her eggs on objects near where she is feeding, including campers, grills and backpacks. When these items are moved, the eggs ride along like a nomadic gypsy.
Other infested sites in northern Illinois will receive an application of pheromone, a sexual attractant that confuses male gypsy moths and prevents them from breeding. Those applications are scheduled in late June.
Funding for the treatments comes from the Slow the Spread program, a joint local, state and federal effort to reduce and control the spread of the Gypsy Moth.