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updated: 6/19/2013 12:19 PM

Aerial Spraying For European Gypsy Moth in Areas Around

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Rosemary Mackey

West Chicago, Illinois: June 17, 2013 - Weather permitting, residents of West Chicago may notice low-flying aircraft in the area June 24-26, 2013 due to aerial treatments coordinated by the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDoA) to control European Gypsy Moths (EGM), Lymantria dispar. Although West Chicago is not directly in the treatment area, applications are scheduled for the Fermilab and Naperville block or area (visit for maps) which is in close enough proximity to West Chicago for residents to see yellow, fixed wing aircraft overhead, potentially causing alarm.

These aerial applications are an ongoing effort to minimize the impact of the invasive tree pest in the State of Illinois. The IDoA and the Slow the Spread (STS) Foundation are once again teaming with the United States Forest Service (USFS) to conduct aerial treatments to control EGM populations and the spread of the pest in northern Illinois for the 2013 year.

EGM is an invasive species from Europe and one of the most damaging forest and tree pests in the United States, and has become permanently established in Illinois. This treatment is part of a statewide program to prevent EGM from establishing itself outside of the northeast corner of Illinois. The Illinois Department of Agriculture is also attempting to reduce the impact of its invasion from other states.

EGM defoliates multiple species of trees with the huge numbers of caterpillars that result from an infestation. After a few years (1-3) of having its leaves completely stripped-off, a tree will die. Also, the caterpillars are a tremendous nuisance, as they may render yards nearly unusable from mid-June to early July.

Disrupt II is the chemically copied female pheromone of the EGM. By saturating the area with pheromone, males in lightly infested areas are not able to find the females, hence mating is prevented. Small, green plastic flakes are impregnated with the pheromone, a Post-it-type glue is added, and then the flakes are aerially released. This product does not pose a risk to humans, animals, non-target organisms or the environment.

The DeKalb Office of the IDoA can be contacted at (815) 787-5476 for more information. Keep in mind that Gypsy Moth Specialists will be in the field on the spray team during the spray program. Those interested can view additional treatment blocks online at: