Today’s Topic: NCDA&CS working to control spread of gypsy moth

By on December 29, 2015

Todays-Topic

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

A couple of weeks ago, Commissioner Troxler talked with Rhonda about the importance of buying local firewood to help prevent the spread of certain insects that are harmful to trees. There’s another plant pest the NCDA&CS has been battling: the gypsy moth.

The department has been dealing with the gypsy moth in counties across North Carolina since the 1970s. This involves working with nine other states through the Gypsy Moth Slow the Spread Foundation to reduce the expansion of the insect into areas of the country that haven’t been infected.

Gypsy moths are highly destructive. The caterpillars feed on the leaves of hundreds of plant species, mainly hardwood trees. In areas with a heavy infestation, trees can be stripped of foliage, which can make entire forests more susceptible to other pests.

The state has an extensive monitoring program for gypsy moth. The NCDA&CS Plant Industry Division sets up traps to determine where gypsy moths are located, and uses several methods for dealing with infestations. These include a biological pesticide and a pheromone that disrupts the moth’s mating practices.

The Plant Industry staff is planning 13 operations in the spring, and will be holding a series of public meetings around the state in January and February to talk about those plans. Information about treatment plans and the public meetings is available here.

Click on the audio player below to hear Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda talk about efforts to fight the spread of the gypsy moth.

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