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Published: Saturday, 4/27/2002

Ohio to spray caterpillars of gypsy moths

Crop dusters flying over Fulton, Hancock, Lucas, Williams, and 17 other Ohio counties next month will do harm only to gypsy moth caterpillars, state agriculture officials say.

The spraying program to control the voracious caterpillars, which begins May 1 in east central Ohio, will conclude by midmonth after spraying 16,000 acres. Most of the spraying will occur between 6 and 10 a.m., but arrival of the crop dusters in northwest Ohio will depend on whether their flights in eastern Ohio are delayed by weather.

Areas of the four counties in northwest Ohio will be treated with a bacillus that isn't dangerous to humans, pets, birds, fish, and honeybees, Melanie Wilt, an agriculture department spokeswoman said. But the spray, in effect an organic insecticide, forms toxins in the caterpillars' digestive systems, causing them to stop eating and, eventually, killing them, Ms. Wilt said.

The state is targeting the larval stage of the insect because gypsy moth caterpillars feed on tree bark and leaves.

“A couple or three years of that can really damage a tree to the point where it dies,” Ms. Wilt said. The moth itself is “just a pest,” she said, and people who live in moth-infested areas are often driven indoors by the nuisance of moth excrement.

Gypsy moths have been located in 42 Ohio counties.

“Our goal is not to eliminate the gypsy moth - that would be next to impossible - but to minimize the damage it causes and not let it spread to other areas,” Ms. Wilt said.

  • In Fulton County, the crop dusters will spray 57 acres in Swan Creek Township, just west of the Lucas-Fulton counties line and between Fulton County Roads H and J.

  • In Hancock County, crop dusters will spray 91 acres in Marion Township, west of Hancock County Road 236, between U.S. 224 and State Rt. 568.

  • In Lucas County, crop dusters will spray in three areas: 53 acres of Sylvania Township northeast of Corey Road and West Central Avenue; 128 acres of South Toledo in an area roughly bounded by Glanzman Road, Copland Boulevard, and Orono and Rugby drives and an area bounded by Rugby, the Anthony Wayne Trail, Copland and Shortford Drive, and in Monclova Township, and 114 acres, mostly west of Butz Road and south of Salisbury Road

  • In Williams County, crop dusters will spray 74 acres west of Williams County Road 1575, north and south of State Rt. 34.



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