Aerial treatments to slow the spread of invasive gypsy moths in Fulton, Kosciusko, Marshall, Porter, Tippecanoe and Whitley counties are planned to begin the week of May 7.

If weather is favorable, treatments could begin on Sunday May 7 for the Tippecanoe County site, with all others beginning May 8.

The schedule could be delayed if weather conditions change or leaf development slows. Three sites in Kosciusko County and one site in Porter County will receive two treatments, spaced four to 10 days apart. All other sites will receive one treatment.

Detailed maps of the treatment sites can be found at gypsymoth.IN.gov.

During treatments, people will see a yellow airplane flying 75-125 feet above the treetops, starting at sunrise and continuing through the day as long as weather and flight schedules permit. With favorable weather, treatments should be completed by late morning or early afternoon.

The airplanes distribute a spray containing the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki, often referred to as Btk, into the treetops of infested areas where gypsy moth caterpillars feed. Btk occurs naturally in soil. Btk kills gypsy moth caterpillars as they feed on tree leaves by disrupting their digestive systems.

Btk has been used for decades by organic gardeners and has an excellent safety record with people and animals.

People who live or work near the treatment areas might choose to take common-sense precautions, including staying inside when the planes are flying, and for about 30 minutes after treatments are complete. This gives the material time to settle out of the air and adhere to treetops.

The non-native gypsy moth is one of North America’s most devastating invasive forest pests.

Additional treatments to slow the spread of gypsy moth are planned for mid to late June in Fulton, Miami, Kosciusko, Porter and Wabash counties.

For more information, call 1-866-NO-EXOTIC (663-9684) or call the local county extension office at 1-888-EXT-INFO (1-888-398-4636).

To determine if your property is in the treatment areas and for more information about gypsy moth, see gypsymoth.IN.gov.

SOURCE: News release from Indiana Department of Natural Resources