My property was included in the spray program, but I am
still seeing gypsy moth caterpillars. Why?
The state program is aimed at suppressing, not
eliminating, gypsy moth populations. In some areas
where populations of caterpillars were extremely high, the
effectiveness of one application of Bt may be limited. In
areas of low population density, the suppression program is
generally more successful at limiting tree defoliation to
Why wasnít my property included in the state program?
The state sprays forested
residential properties for which an application is submitted
to the Pike County Conservation District by the specified
deadline (the summer before any given spray season)
In some instances, residential community associations submit
applications for entire communities to be sprayed.
The property may not have qualified if it did not meet the
state criteria (see below).
One or more landowner(s) may not have paid their bill(s).
Spray blocks with multiple requesting landowners may have
been dropped or had their acreage reduced because not all of
the original requesting parties paid their bills.
In all cases, applicants are notified by mail if their
property(s) are not included in the state program, giving
them sufficient time to arrange for alternative control
Where do I get an application to participate in the spray
advised that Pike County will not be accepting
applications at this time for the 2010 Gypsy Moth
Suppression program. The County has not yet received
notification from the PA Department of Conservation and
Natural Resources (DCNR) as to whether there will be a
state-subsidized program in 2010.
If applications are
available (usually late June/early July), you can get them
at the County Administration Building in Milford, your local
township office, the Pike County Conservation District
office or you can download an application from our website
Please note that submitting an application and
non-refundable fee only allows your property to be evaluated
for the program. It does not guarantee that the property
will be included in the program. Properties that qualify
will be billed at a later date for a portion of the as yet
undetermined spraying costs.
What state criteria need to be met for my property to
qualify for the program?
must have a residence.
Residence must be within
200 feet from the forest.
Trees on the property must
be among those species favorable to gypsy moths.
Property must have a
minimum of 250 healthy egg masses per acre.
What is the cost to participate in the state program?
Gypsy Moth Suppression program expenses are cost-shared by
State and Federal funding, County contributions and
landowners who request, qualify and submit payments for
treatment. State and Federal funding changes from year to
year and cycles on a fiscal year rather than calendar year;
as such, the cost for landowners is unknown when
applications are accepted. A modest County application fee
is non-refundable; however applicants will be notified of
the spray costs and billed well in advance of the spraying
in any given year, offering applicants the option of opting
in or out once they know the actual spray costs.
does the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
(DCNR) spray to control the caterpillars?
DCNR uses a bacterial
insecticide called Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis). The
commercial name is FORAY 76B. All
formulations of Bt registered for gypsy moth control contain
dormant bacterial spores along with crystals of a toxic
protein that the bacteria produce. Gypsy moth caterpillars
(larvae) must eat these spores and crystals for the Bt to
work. Once eaten, the crystals dissolve in the gut of the
caterpillar and cause paralysis of the digestive system.
Cells in the gut wall then break down allowing dormant
spores to invade the body cavity. In small larvae, the
action of the crystal alone is usually fatal, but in larger
larvae it is the later infection by the spores that causes
Because Bt is a biological
organism, it only remains active for 1-2 weeks before it is
broken down by ultraviolet light. In large infestations,
one application of Bt cannot be consistently relied upon to
give population reduction and total nuisance abatement. DCNR
recommends two applications of Bt, about 7-10 days apart, to
most effectively reduce larger populations. However,
due to financial constraints, the state program includes
only one spray application.
Will the Gypsy
Moths damage my home?
moth caterpillarís only mission is to feed on leaves. Their
favored species are oak, but they will eat a number of other
tree species. If they are not on a favored tree, the
caterpillar may hang down on silken threads to be blown by
the wind to another location. In doing this, caterpillars
inevitably land on roofs, siding, decks, etc. They will not
eat any portion of the home. They are simply looking for
leaves and instinctively travel upward. You may find that
the frass (droppings) of gypsy moths will stain some
surfaces on which it falls. To reduce this, one can simply
sweep the deck, sidewalk or driveway areas before it rains.
trees survive the defoliation?
Deciduous trees can withstand several years of
defoliation before the ultimate result is death. However, if
a tree has been defoliated, other stresses may be putting
the tree at a higher risk. Other stresses include disease,
other pests, drought, improper pruning, insufficient
nutrients, etc. To help your trees survive defoliation, try
to prevent/reduce these additional stresses.
are some options for controlling the Gypsy Moths?
∑ Residents may hire a private aerial applicator. A list of
aerial applicators is available on this website.
∑ Residents may look into ground applications by contacting a
pest control company. It should be noted, however, that
applications from the ground may not reach the tops of very
Residents should ask what control substances private
applicators are using and be aware of any precautions
associated with different insecticides.
Moth Control Options for the HomeownerĒ brochure
found on this website offers some other alternative
methods for gypsy moth control.
an application for the Pike County Gypsy Moth
Suppression Program by the application deadline.
Applications are available at your township/borough
office, or forms may be downloaded from this website
entire property be sprayed?
If you own a large tract(s) of land, all of your property
may not be included in the spraying program. State program
standards provide for the treatment of a forested spray zone
extending no further than 500 feet from the residence(s)
being protected. Open fields, open areas containing only a
few scattered trees and narrow fence rows will not be
canít I be notified of the exact date and time that my
property will be sprayed?
The DCNR Gypsy Moth Suppression program is a STATEWIDE spray
program that may include hundreds of thousands of acres in
many counties across Pennsylvania. Spray dates and times
are determined by a number of factors that canít always be
precisely predicted but are important to the ability of the
aircraft to operate and the effectiveness of the
insecticide. Some of these factors include:
Size and age of the caterpillars
Weather Ė including temperature, precipitation, humidity,
wind conditions Ė all of which can change hour to hour and day to
County and DCNR give the public approximate time
frames for upcoming spraying and, once spraying begins,
provide daily updates on spray progress via both
organizationsí websites. However,
if it is important for you to
have advance notification and precise information on the
timing of spraying for your property, it is recommended that
you contract privately with a company who can accommodate
saw the plane or helicopter overhead but didnít see the
spray coming out when it was over my property. Did my
property get missed?
activating the spray apparatus, aircraft often make
reconnaissance passes over the spray blocks in order to set
up the best flight path for the irregularly shaped blocks.
Aircraft utilized by DCNR contractors are equipped with a
computer-based aircraft spray pattern analysis system
provides precise information to DCNR staff in the field
about the timing and location of the spray release in
relation to the computerized spray block maps.
different types of aircraft employed by DCNR depending on
the size of spray blocks. A helicopter block may be quite
close to a larger fixed wing aircraft block which is sprayed
at a different time or date. Also, remember that during
spray season there are also many privately contracted
aircraft spraying in Pike County that may be operating on
other properties near yours.
if it rains after my property has been sprayed?
Formulation components used with the Bt
provide good weatherability of spray deposits. As long as
the spray has sufficient time to dry, it is difficult to
dislodge the droplets from the foliage surface.