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Chris Elder, manager
NCDA&CS Gypsy Moth Program
919-707-3743 or 800-206-9333

NCDA&CS schedules a public meeting Jan. 17 in Bolivia
on proposed gypsy moth treatments

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is seeking input from residents and other interested parties in Brunswick County concerning planned treatment activities for the non-native, highly destructive gypsy moth.

The meeting will be held Tuesday, Jan. 17, at 6:30 p.m. at the Brunswick County Government Center, 30 Government Center Drive NE in Boliva. Information on treatment options for the 774-acre site will be discussed.

Field monitoring activities conducted by the department have determined that reproducing populations of the gypsy moth exist about four miles south of Boliva. The proposed treatment involves two aerial applications of a biological pesticide, Bacillus thuringiensis variety kurstaki, or Btk.

River Swamp runs through the middle of the proposed treatment area, which is bordered on the west side by Gilbert Road SE at the intersection with Goose Marsh Road. There are 18 houses and forested areas consistently mainly of pine, oak, sweetgum and cypress within the area. The site had male moth captures in 2015 and 2016.

In early spring, gypsy moth caterpillars feed on the leaves of hundreds of plant species, predominantly oaks and other hardwood trees. In heavily infested areas, trees may be completely stripped of foliage, leaving entire forests more susceptible to attacks from other pests.

Gypsy moths can also be a nuisance to the general public. In heavily infested areas, caterpillars may crawl on driveways, sidewalks, outdoor furniture, into homes, or end up in swimming pools. Heavy defoliation can affect parks and recreation areas. Some people can have allergic reactions to the caterpillars’ tiny hairs if inhaled.

Options for dealing with gypsy moth infestations include aerial spraying of biological pesticides or gypsy moth mating disruptants. Trapping grids will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of these treatments.

The department has addressed spot introductions of the gypsy moth in several areas across North Carolina since the 1970s. The department is working with nine other states through the Gypsy Moth Slow the Spread Foundation and with other state and federal agencies to reduce the expansion of the gypsy moth into uninfested areas of the country.

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