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State agency to start gypsy moth aerial spraying today
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MONROE - Gypsy moth aerial treatments by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection's Gypsy Moth Slow the Spread Program will start today, weather permitting.

The treatments are necessary to control the spread of the gypsy moth, a destructive and invasive pest that feeds on the leaves of oaks, maples, crabapple, birch and many other species of trees and shrubs, according to a news release.

The STS aerial program for 2017 consists of 51 treatment sites, involving about 170,000 acres in 18 counties, mostly in western Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' Suppression Program treated five sites in Dane and Sauk County totaling 435 acres. There will be select sites in Green, Grant and Lafayette counties. A progress chart and maps of treatment sites can be viewed online at

Most sites may have more than one treatment planned and will be treated again on a later date. Planes will apply Foray 48B, which is approved for use in certified organic production or food processing by the Organic Materials Review Institute. The insecticide contains bacillus thuringiensis, variety kurstaki or Btk. Btk is a naturally occurring soil bacterium that is poisonous to gypsy moth caterpillars when consumed. Btk breaks down in sunlight within a few days. The first Btk treatments will begin in the previously mentioned counties covering seven sites.

Applications may start as early as sunrise and will continue until the day's plan is complete and as weather conditions allow. Treatment applications require calm winds, high humidity and no precipitation. The planes will fly low, just above the tree tops. They will be loud.

Spraying does not affect organic certification. The insecticide is not toxic to people, bees, animals, birds or plants, according to the release. People who have allergies may wish to stay indoors or leave the area until treatments are done. Pets or livestock may be frightened by the noise of the low-flying planes, so keep them indoors or monitor them.

Most sites will receive a second application of Btk about three to 10 days after the first application.

Treatment updates will be available as a recorded message on the toll-free hotline 1-800-642-6684, then press 1. Updates also will be available on Facebook, Twitter or by sending an email to