Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) Director Katy Coba has approved a gypsy moth eradication project planned for next month in a residential area of Bend in Deschutes County. The project will involve three aerial applications of the biological insecticide Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki (B.t.k.), which has been used routinely in other gypsy moth eradication projects in Oregon since 1984.
The project involves a 533-acre site that includes residential and other properties in northwest Bend, primarily between U.S. Highway 20 and U.S. Highway 97. Last summer, 57 gypsy moths were detected in traps located in the area. In addition, ODA entomologists were able to find live female gypsy moths and egg masses in the immediate area. The evidence indicates a breeding population of gypsy moth is present in the area.
The first of three applications in Bend is scheduled for Wednesday, May 2, subject to weather conditions. The second and third applications are scheduled for Wednesday, May 16 and Wednesday, May 30– again, weather permitting. Spray notices are being sent to each postal patron in the affected area.
Spraying is scheduled to start about 30 minutes prior to sunrise, weather permitting, and be completed within two to three hours unless delayed by weather or other factors.
Affected persons will be able to access updated information in a couple of ways. During the spray project, the following television and radio stations will be informed of specific spray dates and any changes in the planned spray schedule: KTVZ-TV, KFXO-TV, KBND-AM (1110), KICE-AM (940), KLCC-FM (89.7), KXIX-FM (94.1), KTWS-FM (98.3), KMTK-FM (99.7), KMGX-FM (100.7), KLRR-FM (101.7), KSJJ-FM (102.9), and KRXF (92.7). Current spray schedule information can also be obtained by calling 1-800-525-0137.
B.t.k. has an excellent safety record for humans. However, to avoid exposure, Oregon Human Services Department-Public Health Division recommends that people stay indoors during spraying and for at least 30 minutes afterwards to allow droplets to settle, unless it is essential to be outdoors. People should also wait until the spray has dried before touching grass or shrubs. Playground equipment, sandboxes, benches, and lawn chairs should be covered before spraying or hosed off afterward. People in direct contact with spray should wash exposed skin with soap and water. If material gets into the eyes, they should be flushed with water for 15 minutes.
People who have a physician-diagnosed severe immune disorder or a medical problem which they believe may be made worse by the spraying should consult their health care provider.
B.t.k. will not adversely affect livestock if they are sprayed, come in contact with, or eat treated grass or foliage. The greatest concern is that livestock, particularly horses, may be startled by the noise and presence of a low-flying helicopter. All precautions will be taken to minimize impacts on livestock during each spray application. It is recommended that owners consider the safety of animals which may include confining them in a secure area prior to, and during, each application. Anyone with specific concerns about livestock should contact ODA ahead of time, again, by calling 1-800-525-0137.
Upon completion of the eradication project, ODA will begin its annual detection program by placing gypsy moth traps throughout the state, with a higher density of trapping in the eradication area of Bend to determine the effectiveness of the spray effort.
The gypsy moth is not native to Oregon and is considered a serious pest of trees and shrubs. Early detection and eradication of gypsy moth infestations are goals of ODA to prevent economic and environmental losses to Oregon by loss of foliage and even trees, restrictive quarantines on commodities, or loss of favorable fish habitat due to degraded watersheds.