CHARLESTON — The West Virginia Department of Agriculture is urging landowners to sign up for the cooperative state-county-landowner gypsy moth suppression program.
The program is focused on protecting the landowners’ forested acreage from devastating effects caused by the invasive gypsy moth. The sign-up period runs until Aug. 31.
“West Virginia’s forests are one of our state’s most important resources. From tourism to our timber industry, our forests are an important economic driver,” Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt said. “As we face more invasive species such as the spotted lanternfly, we hope people will take advantage of programs like these.”
The CSCL gypsy moth program started accepting gypsy moth egg mass survey applications from landowners statewide on July 1. Application forms and brochures are available at the WVDA’s Plant Industries Division website.
Landowners may also obtain applications at local WVU Extension offices and WVDA field offices in Charleston (304-558-2212) or New Creek (304-788-1066). A non-refundable survey deposit of $1 per acre must be submitted with the application.
The deposit will be applied toward payment for treatment if the landowner qualifies.
“The gypsy moth is a non-native, invasive insect that feeds on hundreds of species of trees and shrubs, including West Virginia hardwoods,” said WVDA Plant Industries Assistant Director Butch Sayers. “Defoliation by gypsy moth caterpillars can weaken trees, making them more susceptible to other pests and diseases. This treatment program helps safeguard our forests from further damage.”
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. 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.