CHARLESTON — The West Virginia Department of Agriculture is urging landowners to sign up for the Cooperative State-County-Landowner gypsy moth suppression program.
The goal of the program is to help slow the spread of the invasive gypsy moth. The sign-up period began July 1, running until Aug. 31.
“Every year our state deals with more and more invasive pests who bring potential devastation to our forests and farm lands. The arrival of these pests is almost inevitable, but programs like gypsy moth suppression limits the impact these pests have on some of West Virginia’s most valuable resources,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt. “We hope people will take advantage of this program.”
Once applications and deposits are received, a forest health protection specialist will visit the landowner’s property to determine if the level of gypsy moth infestation meets program guidelines. A final decision to participate in the program must be confirmed by signing a contract with the WVDA by early December. The minimum acreage required to participate in the program is 50 contiguous acres of wooded land. Adjoining landowners may combine their properties to meet the acreage requirement.
“The gypsy moth is a non-native, invasive insect that feeds on hundreds of species of trees and shrubs, including West Virginia hardwoods. Defoliation by gypsy moth caterpillars can weaken trees, making them more susceptible to other pests and diseases,” said WVDA Plant Industries Director Tim Brown. “We have seen some great success in slowing the spread of gypsy moth here in West Virginia.”
The CSCL gypsy moth program is now accepting gypsy moth egg mass survey applications from landowners within the program area.