Battling gypsy moths in Northwestern Wisconsin - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

Battling gypsy moths in Northwestern Wisconsin

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Planes took to the air Monday morning in Douglas County to help combat the spread of gypsy moths.

"We're sending our planes off to do a mating disruption treatment" gypsy moth program coordinator Christopher Foelker explained.

Pilots will spray the tree tops with pheromones to confuse adult gypsy moths and reduce their rate of reproduction.                                                           Officials are trying to get ahead of the spread of the destructive, invasive pest.

"Right now We're treating the invading front, for gypsy moth" said Foelker.

The moths will eat just about any foliage they can find. Unfortunately Northwestern Wisconsin has a lot of the moth's favorite foods.

"Oak and Aspen and Willow are their preferred foods, so any place you have a lot of those trees are probably most at risk" said Donna Leonard of the U.S. Forest Service.

Treating the area for pests now helps protect our forests and stay ahead of any major infestations.

"So right now there's a lot of defoliation that's going on in Massachusetts and Rhode Island and Connecticut, and what we're doing is trying to slow down and limit the spread of this insect so that we don't have to deal with those problems later on" Foelker said.

Over the 14 years, in which the treatment program has been in place, there have been notable results.

"Over the history of this program, since we've been implementing it, we've been able to slow the spread rate from about 13 miles per year down to about two to 3 miles per year" said Leonard.

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