Invasive Pest Threatens Forest and Shade Trees
ANNAPOLIS—Weather permitting, the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) will begin aerial spraying next Thursday (May 2) in some southern areas of the state to combat the destructive Gypsy Moth, an invasive pest that destroys forest and shade trees. However, most of MDAs gypsy moth spraying will take place later in the month in Western Maryland.
On Thursday, MDA is scheduled to spray a small portion of St. Marys County along MD Route 235 and Bay Forest Road. MDA will also spray a small portion of Worcester County on Rt. 12 (Snow Hill Road) at the Wicomico County line. Most spraying will be done later in May in Garrett County where MDA will spray more than 11,000 acres over 58 individual areas across the county. All property owners directly affected by the spraying have been notified by letter.
Maps of areas to be sprayed as well as the spray schedule are on MDAs website at: http://mda.maryland.gov/plants-pests/Pages/gypsy_moth_spray_schedule.aspx
When MDA begins spraying, residents can follow MDAs Gypsy Moth Twitter feed for frequent updates on the progress of the helicopters. Follow @MDGypsyMoth.
Every year, MDA monitors the presence and severity of gypsy moth infestations and assesses potential damage and tree loss. Predators, parasites, and diseases often kill gypsy moths; however, when the natural enemies fail to suppress high infestations, MDA will work with federal and local governments to conduct aerial insecticide treatments to protect and preserve forest and shade trees. In FY 2012, MDA surveyed more than 467,000 acres and treated 2,530 acres all of it in Garrett County. The last major outbreak was in 2007-2008 when more than 68,000 trees lost most of their leaves and MDA treated more than 99,000 acres.
For more information about the Forest Pest Management Program, see: http://mda.maryland.gov/Documents/ag_brief/AgBrief_FPM_FINAL.pdf
See a recent blog post about the Gypsy Moth Program: http://news.maryland.gov/mda/mda-blog/2013/04/15/april-is-national-invasive-plant-pest-disease-awareness-month-learn-about-marylands-most-unwanted-pests-2/
For more comprehensive info on gypsy moth, see: http://mda.maryland.gov/plants-pests/Pages/gypsy_moth_program.aspx