The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is seeking input from residents in Caswell, Currituck, Granville, Rockingham and Warren counties concerning treatment options for the non-native, highly destructive gypsy moth.
Field monitoring activities conducted by the department in 2012 determined that reproducing populations of the gypsy moth exist in these counties and represent a threat to hardwood trees. Residents in or near the proposed treatment areas have been sent notices by mail.
The following meetings are scheduled:
•Tuesday, Jan. 29, at 6:30 p.m. at the Warren County Memorial Library, Warrenton. This meeting is for the proposed treatment area around Inez in Warren County.
•Thursday, Jan. 31, at 7 p.m. at the Carova Beach Fire Department, Carova. This meeting is for the proposed treatment area in the Carova and Corolla areas in Currituck County.
•Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 7 p.m. at the Eden Public Library, Eden. This meeting is for the proposed treatment area northwest of the city of Eden in Rockingham County.
•Thursday, Feb. 7, at 7 p.m. at the Providence Fire Department, Providence. This meeting is for the proposed treatment areas in or near Ruffin in Rockingham County, and an area between Yanceyville in Caswell County and the Virginia border.
•Tuesday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m. at the Oxford Tobacco Research Station, Oxford. This meeting is for the proposed treatment area about 7 miles west of Stovall in Granville County.
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 Inc. and with other state and federal agencies to reduce the expansion of the gypsy moth into uninfested areas of the state.
In early spring, gypsy moth caterpillars feed on the leaves of hundreds of plant species, predominantly 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. Caterpillars may migrate in search of food, sometimes entering houses and ending up in swimming pools. Some people can have allergic reactions to the caterpillars’ tiny hairs.
Options for dealing with gypsy moth infestations include aerial spraying of biological pesticides and aerial applications of gypsy moth mating disruptants. Trapping grids are used to evaluate the effectiveness of treatments.