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Spongy Moth Aerial Btk Treatments

Spongy Moth Aerial Btk Treatments

By Andi Anderson

Indiana's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) divisions of Forestry and Entomology & Plant Pathology are mobilizing aerial treatments in targeted areas of Adams and Wabash counties to mitigate the spread of the invasive forest pest, spongy moth, formerly known as Lymantria dispar. Weather permitting, these treatments are slated to commence during the week of May 5.

Spongy moth stands as one of North America's most destructive invasive forest pests, wreaking havoc on thousands of acres of woodland across the eastern United States.

Treatment efforts are set to kick off shortly after sunrise, though they may be postponed in cases of unfavorable weather conditions such as morning fog or rain. A yellow aircraft will conduct the treatments from an altitude of 75-125 feet above the treetops throughout the day, aiming for completion by late morning or early afternoon, contingent upon weather conditions.

The aerial spray comprises Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki (Btk), a bacterium fatal to spongy moth caterpillars, disrupting their digestive systems upon ingestion. Btk has been a trusted tool in gardening for many years and poses no threat to humans or animals.

Residents and workers in the vicinity of treatment areas are advised to remain indoors while treatments are underway and for approximately 30 minutes after completion to allow the material to settle on the treetops. For more information on Btk, individuals can call toll-free at 1-866-NO-EXOTIC (663-9684) or reach out to their county extension office.

Treatment schedules may be affected by adverse weather conditions like rain or high winds, with operations resuming on the next suitable day until all designated areas have been treated.

Residents can check if their property falls within treatment zones or access maps of treatment locations by visiting on for additional details on spongy moth and treatment initiatives.

Photo Credit: gettyimages-ian-redding

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