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Spongy Moth Spread Prompts Treatment Plan from Wisconsin DATCP

Spongy Moth Spread Prompts Treatment Plan from Wisconsin DATCP

April 23, 2024 1:38 PM CDT

By: James Kelly

As Spongy Moth infestations begin to spread again with the warmer weather, state officials are planning preventative treatment methods.

According to a press release from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, western Wisconsin residents could see a small yellow plane flying low overhead beginning in May. The plane will be dropping a treatment for the invasive Spongy Moth species while in their caterpillar forms, hoping to slow their spread from the eastern regions of the state.

Infestations of the troublesome bugs have been limited in western Wisconsin, but the Spongy Moth has reached record population levels in the eastern parts of the state.

The insects can defoliate different kinds of trees and plants, wreaking havoc on the local ecosystems they infest. They can also become a financial burden by forcing the removal of dead trees, and the shedding of their caterpillar skin can cause eye, skin and respiratory irritation in people.

Treatment on the caterpillar-stage Spongy Moths will begin in May and last until early June. After that, Wisconsin DATCP officials will begin spreading a new treatment that targets the fully grown insects. The treatment for the adult moths will include a pheromone that will make it more difficult for males to locate females to reproduce.

The treatment that will be spread is not toxic to people, animals, or other insects like bees that provide huge ecological benefits. The DATCP also noted that people with more severe allergies may want to stay indoors during treatment in their area.

Additional information on treatment plans and maps can be found on the DATCP website.

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