Northeast Ohio open houses for gypsy moth program

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REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio – The Ohio Department of Agriculture is hosting a series of open houses to increase public understanding of the department’s efforts to prevent further gypsy moth damage in moth-infested Ohio counties.

At the open houses, scheduled through March 5, agriculture department representatives will show maps of this year’s treatment areas, answer questions, and take comments from local residents.

When and where. The open houses are open to the public. They will be held:

* Feb. 12, 5-7 p.m., Harrison Central High School, 440 E. Market St., Cadiz, Harrison County;

* Feb. 14, 5-7 p.m., District 11 ODOT Building, 2201 Reiser Ave. SE, New Philadelphia, Tuscarawas County;

* March 5, 5-7 p.m., District 11 ODOT Building, 2201 Reiser Ave. S.E., New Philadelphia, Tuscarawas County;

Gypsy moth. The gypsy moth is a non-native, invasive species that has been advancing into Ohio from Pennsylvania and Michigan over the last several years.

In its caterpillar stage, it feeds on the leaves of trees and shrubs and is especially fond of oak. In 2001, more than 36,000 acres of state, private, and federal land were treated in 18 counties.

While gypsy moth caterpillars defoliated 42,513 acres of hardwood trees across 24 of Ohio’s 88 counties last year, suppression treatments resulted in an average 93 percent reduction in new gypsy moth egg masses.

A healthy tree can usually withstand only two years of defoliation before it is permanently damaged or dies.

Counties infested. The department’s gypsy moth egg mass surveys indicate that several sites in Ashland, Belmont, Carroll, Coshocton, Fulton, Hancock, Harrison, Holmes, Knox, Licking, Lorain, Lucas, Ross, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Washington, and Wayne counties are infested.

At the request of area citizens, the department proposes treating these areas in May to help reduce the impact of the gypsy moth and to minimize the risk of its spread to non-infested portions of Ohio and other states.

“Aerial treatment in infested areas is just one part of our gypsy moth program,” said Ohio Agriculture Director Fred L. Dailey.

“We will be working in other parts of the state to slow the spread of the gypsy moth or attempt to eradicate it where it has appeared, but has not yet become established.”

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