Gypsy Moth remains nearly unstoppable

The Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar) keeps reproducing and expanding its range despite freezing temperatures, hormone traps, and scientists’ cleverest pesticides. An article in Chemical & Engineering News nearly waves a white flag of surrender in the face of the larvae which are capable of defoliating and weakening large numbers of trees. Currently the best science has to offer in the way of management tools is a soil bacterium, and a subspecies of it in particular: Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki (Bt). Slowing the insect’s spread with Bt will at least help limit its financial impact, so more money can be directed toward finding an effective method of control. Read more here.

The USDA is attempting to control the spread of the insects by establishing a 60-mile buffer zone along the North Carolina-Virginia border and then northwest through West Virginia and Kentucky and onward to Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Male Gypsy Moth
flickr/Gavatron

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