Aerial Gypsy Moth Spraying to Begin in May


Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
Contact: Merni Fitzgerald, Director of Public Affairs
703-324-3187, TTY 711, Fax 703-324-2010
Media Pager: 703-324-NEWS (6397)
publicaffairs@fairfaxcounty.gov

April 26, 2007

 Aerial Gypsy Moth Spraying to Begin in May

More Areas to Be Treated This Year Because of Increased Gypsy Moth Population

Starting in May, Fairfax County will begin its annual, aerial spraying program to suppress gypsy moth caterpillars. This year, more areas across the county will be treated because there are an increased number of these leaf-eating insects.

A total of 4,000 acres will be sprayed this spring, compared to 498 acres last year. County officials believe that last year’s dry weather contributed to an upsurge of gypsy moths, and other East Coast states are reporting similar spikes.

Helicopters will spray a naturally occurring insecticide in 31 areas, mainly concentrated in the northern portion of the county. A detailed map showing these treatment areas is available at all public library branches, county governmental centers and online at http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/environmental/forest_pest.htm. Treatment areas are chosen through an annual county survey of the gypsy moth population.

Because weather conditions are unpredictable, county officials do not know the exact days when spraying will conducted. However, spraying will be done in the early morning and dusk, and it may take up to a week to complete the treatment program across the county, depending on the weather.

The county will use a naturally occurring bacteria — Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt. — as an insecticide. Extensive research has shown that Bt. is not harmful to people, pets, plants or beneficial insects, such as honeybees. The spray will not cause any permanent harm to painted surfaces, and residues can be removed with soap and water.

Bt. is registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is sanctioned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Virginia Department of Agriculture for use against gypsy moths.

For more information about the treatment program or affected areas, call the county’s Forest Pest Program at 703-324-5304, TTY 711, or visit http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/environmental/forest_pest.htm

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