Gypsy Moth Aerial Spray Program to Begin Early May in Charles - Southern Maryland Headline News

Gypsy Moth Aerial Spray Program to Begin Early May in Charles

ANNAPOLIS (April 30, 2009) – Weather permitting, the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) will begin an aerial spray program on May 1 to treat trees on nearly 33,000 acres of land in 14 counties and Baltimore City to prevent forest defoliation caused by the gypsy moth. Spraying will begin in Anne Arundel, Charles, Talbot and Worcester counties and move west continuing through the end of May. The majority of the acreage to be treated is in Central and Western Maryland. Allegany, Baltimore, Cecil, Frederick, and Washington counties have the most proposed acreage to be sprayed this year.

“The gypsy moth is by far the most destructive pest of forest and shade trees in Maryland,” said Agriculture Secretary Roger L. Richardson. “We have a strong and effective suppression program that looks for damage through the year and treats infested areas when warranted in the spring to protect our valuable hardwood forests and neighborhood trees. We greatly appreciate the partnership of our local and federal partners in this effort.”

The total acreage MDA will treat this year is: Allegany (1,129 acres), Anne Arundel (805), Baltimore (3,936), Carroll (609), Cecil (3,767), Charles (36), Frederick (11,621), Garrett (107), Harford (1,096), Howard (1,086), Montgomery (319), Talbot (343), Washington (7,279), and Worcester (399) counties and Baltimore City (179).

Gypsy Moth Background

Caterpillars eat the leaves of oaks and other hardwoods from late April through June. Heavy populations of caterpillars will eat most or all leaves on a tree, potentially killing it. The first defoliation in Maryland occurred in 1980. Since 1980, gypsy moth caterpillars have defoliated well over 1 million acres of valuable timber and residential trees in Maryland. Between 1982 and 2008, MDA sprayed the trees on more than 1.9 million acres statewide with an average effectiveness rate of over 98 percent. In 2004, only 660 acres were treated and none were treated in 2005. In 2006, populations increased and 25,454 acres were treated. In 2007, 50,173 acres were treated in 11 counties. Last year, more than 99,000 acres were treated in 13 counties and Baltimore City – the highest since 1995. All property owners in treatment areas, as well as those in surrounding areas, have been notified.

The Cooperative Gypsy Moth Suppression Program is a partnership between MDA, the USDA Forest Service, local jurisdictions and landowners. An Integrated Pest Management approach is used; beginning with extensive pest population surveys targeted at susceptible high value rural and urban forested areas of Maryland.

For more information about gypsy moths, the Suppression Program, to locate the spray blocks, and learn what homeowners can do pro-actively to prevent gypsy moth damage on their properties, log onto and click on gypsy moth. Residents may call 800-492-2105 or 2106 for access to spray schedules by block number.

Source: Maryland Department of Agriculture

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