NC Dept of Agriculture Seeks PUBLIC INPUT ON GYPSY MOTH | Feb 8

**Please note: this initiative is by the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. All questions and comments should be directed to the NCDA&CS. For more on the information below, please visit www.ncagr.gov/GypsyMoths/treat.

WHAT: Public Input Meeting to Discuss an Infestation of Gypsy Moth in the Area

WHEN: Tuesday, February 8, 2022 at 6:30 P.M.

WHERE: Paul F. Keller Meeting Hall., 1200 Duck Road., Duck, NC 27949 United States

The purpose of this letter is to notify you that the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) has detected the presence of gypsy moth in your area.

Due to the presence of this invasive insect, NCDA & CS has proposed to conduct a treatment in your area. A decision will be made on the treatment alternatives for this infestation after residents of the area have had an opportunity to express their comments at the meeting or through our online portal.

If you are unable to attend the in-person meeting, you can find out more information, submit a public comment, or to request email/text notifications about treatment dates by visiting www.ncagr.gov/GypsyMoths/treat. The name of the proposed block in your area is Martin Point. Please make sure to indicate which proposed treatment block is in your area. Organic products will be used for all proposed gypsy moth treatments in 2022.

If you do not have access to the internet and you would like additional information on this gypsy moth infestation, or you would like to submit your comments by phone, please contact the NCDA&CS Plant Industry Division at 800-206-9333 or 919-707-3730.

HISTORY AND BIOLOGY OF THE GYPSY MOTH

The gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar, is a defoliator of hardwood trees that is native to northern Africa, Europe, and parts of Asia. The gypsy moth first invaded the U.S. in 1869 when it escaped from a laboratory in Medford, Massachusetts where attempts were being made to cross it with native silkworm moths. Since that time, the insect has spread throughout the northeastern and mid-Atlantic U.S. and into Canada. The gypsy moth earned its name because of its behavior and tremendous mobility. Several days after hatching, young caterpillars hang from tree limbs by silk threads that allow them to be carried by wind currents and spread to other areas. Although the gypsy moth can spread relatively short distances on its own, it is also transported by humans when egg masses are unintentionally transported on the items listed below. Each egg mass can contain as many as 1,000 viable eggs. In the forest, adult female moths hide their egg masses in a variety of places, including bark crevices, tree holes, and under vines on tree trunks. However, when the gypsy moth invades areas inhabited or used by people, these hiding places frequently include outdoor articles such as tents, firewood, doghouses, utility sheds, garbage cans, lawn furniture, and recreational vehicles.

The Slow the Spread (STS) Pilot Project started in 1992 with a goal of demonstrating that the rate at which gypsy moth populations colonize new areas can be reduced. The project uses techniques that are both environmentally safe and cost effective. This pilot program was proven successful and became fully operational in 2000. Management decisions within STS are primarily based on the presence of male gypsy moths in any given area, determined by utilizing traps baited with the female gypsy moth sex pheromone. The project currently operates in portions of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, North Carolina, Minnesota, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

IMPACT OF THE GYPSY MOTH

The impact of a gypsy moth infestation varies year to year. The direct impact of gypsy moth defoliation ranges from barely noticeable to devastating, depending on population density, tree health, and weather conditions. For hardwood species such as oak, mortality of trees in fair or poor health, or those stressed by drought or frost, can occur after two consecutive years of defoliation. Trees that are in good condition will grow new leaves later in the season but are forced to use food reserves intended for the next season. Reduction in tree food reserves reduces their ability to withstand future defoliation or stress. The most dangerous effect of gypsy moth defoliation is an increase in tree susceptibility to secondary pests such as wood boring beetles and fungi. Older gypsy moth larvae may attack conifer species, such as pine, resulting in tree mortality after just one year of defoliation. The economic burden of a severe gypsy moth defoliation can be great when homeowners are faced with large, dead yard trees that must be removed. Likewise, timberland owners may be faced with a reduction in timber value as valuable hardwoods are killed.

The gypsy moth can also be a nuisance to the general public. In heavily infested areas, caterpillars may crawl on driveways, sidewalks, outdoor furniture, into homes, or swimming pools. In parks and recreational areas, defoliation may affect the aesthetics of the surroundings. If inhaled, some people have allergic reactions to the caterpillars’ tiny hairs.

PROPOSED TREATMENT AREA DESCRIPTION

Martin Point area: This 3168-acre proposed treatment block is the Duck area in Dare County. In 2020, we caught a total of two male moths in this block. In 2021, that number increased to twenty-seven. One application of mating disruption is proposed for this block in May or June.

PROPOSED TREATMENT AREA MAP

This is a map showing roads in the proposed treatment area. The area shaded in gray is the treatment block in which the actual treatment would take place. The area inside the dotted line is the treatment zone, an area in which aircraft might be flying low as they turn, but not actually treating. Numbers indicate the number of male gypsy moths captured at those locations in 2021.

**PLEASE NOTE: As of July 2021, the Entomological Society of America no longer recognizes the common name gypsy moth for Lymantria dispar. Our program documents will be updated with the new common name after it is selected.