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N.J. Suspends Gypsy Moth Spraying

The dramatic decline of the gypsy moth population in New Jersey is due to the combination of effective treatments in spring of 2009 and the impacts of predatory parasites and natural fungus that kill gypsy moth caterpillars, according to Douglas Fisher, the state's
agriculture secretary.

For just the second time in 40 years, New Jersey will suspend its annual springtime spraying for gypsy moths because the invasive bug's population has dropped significantly.

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Officials said winter surveys for the moth's egg masses found only a tiny concentration in Atlantic County.

In 1981, experts declared the gypsy moth, a Euro-Asian insect accidentally released in the United States more than 100 years ago, "the most destructive hardwood defoliator ever to occur in New Jersey." That year alone, about 798,790 acres of trees across the state were defoliated.

Since then, annual aerial spraying programs have become routine each spring, targeting forests where considerable moth egg masses are found.

"The combination of effective treatments in spring of 2009, the impacts of predatory parasites and increased natural fungus that kills gypsy moth caterpillars has caused a dramatic decline in the gypsy moth population," Douglas Fisher, the state's agriculture secretary, said in a statement. "However, the gypsy moth has not been eradicated from the state. We found some isolated scattered pockets as a result of our surveys. Therefore, continued monitoring is necessary to suppress the tree-killing insect in
the future."


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June 18, 2019, 6:41 pm PDT

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