News From the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will soon start treating for spongy moth, formerly known as gypsy moth, infestations in several areas across North Carolina.
Prior to normal spongy moth mating periods, low-altitude fixed-wing aircraft will disperse SPLAT Gypsy Moth-Organic Mating Disruption infused with the naturally occurring spongy moth pheromone.
The presence of the pheromone makes male spongy moths unable to follow the natural pheromone scent trails released by the females. This causes a decrease in mating success and reduces the spongy moth population. The pheromone is not harmful to humans, animals or plants, and it will not affect other insect species.
Spongy moths feed on the leaves of more than 300 different species of trees and shrubs, predominantly oaks and hardwoods. When areas become heavily infested, trees may be completely stripped of foliage, leaving yard trees and entire forests more susceptible to attacks from other pests. Severe infestations often lead to tree death. Spongy moth caterpillars can also pose public health concerns for people with respiratory problems. In areas with high-density spongy moth populations, the caterpillar hairs and droppings may cause severe allergic reactions.
NCDA&CS has addressed spot introductions of the spongy moth across North Carolina since the 1970s. The treatment will be done in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service.
Homeowners in the treatment areas were notified about these infestations as well as treatment options in February. We have obtained public comments from residents in the treatment areas.
For more information, or to request treatment notification via text or email, go to https://www.ncagr.gov/PLANTINDUSTRY/plant/entomology/ProposedSpongyMothTreatments.htm or contact NCDA&CS toll free at 800-206-9333.
Watch a video on North Carolina's spongy moth treatments.
View more information on the spongy moth on the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal Health and Plant Inspection Service web site.