Illinois officials are trying to combat the spread of gypsy moths responsible for weakening and killing trees in northern areas of the state. The department uses federal funds to spray bacteria and in some cases...pheremones to confuse the male moths during mating. Nancy Williams with the Illinois Department of Agriculture says the program is not intended to kill off all of the moths, but to at least slow their spread.
"Naturally occurring spread would be about 20 kilometers a year and it would just work its way across the United States. By putting out these little spot fires we have slowed it down to about 3 kilometers per year."
The moths become mobile when they attach themselves to movable items such as car tires, backyard furniture, and picnic tables. Aerial spraying will occur near Oswego later this month to keep the moths from reproducing. Spraying is expected near Rockford around June.
More information: http://www.agr.state.il.us/Environment/Pest/gypsymoth.html