ROANOKE, Va. - The USDA Forest Service and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services are launching a new effort against the gypsy moth.
In a press release, they announced they will treat 33,885 acres of public and private land for gypsy moth infestations. It's part of the national Slow the Spread (STS) program.
The gypsy moth is a destructive forest pest that was accidentally introduced into the United States in 1869. Experts say gypsy moth causes extensive tree mortality by feeding on over 300 species. Since 1970, 75 million acres have been affected by the gypsy moth.
Officials say treatment in Bland, Grayson, Smyth, and Tazewell Counties is scheduled to begin the week of June 17, 2013. They say it could take two to four days to complete depending on weather.
The gypsy moth treatment is applied by aircraft flying approximately 150 feet above the tree tops over affected areas. They tell us you'll be able to see the aircraft during treatment dates.
Approximately eight miles of the Appalachian Trail resides within the treatment area. Signs notifying hikers of the treatment project are posted along the Appalachian Trail prior to entering the treatment area. Maps of the treatment area can be found at www.fs.fed.us/r8/gwj