State urges landowners to sign-up for moth suppression program

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Gypsy moth infestations in West Virginia appear to be growing worse annually.

The W.Va. Department of Agriculture is urging landowners in the Mountain State to sign up for its cooperative Gypsy Moth suppression program to help slow the spread of the invasive gypsy moth.

The sign-up period will run from July 1 until August 31, according to Kent Leonhardt, Commissioner of Agriculture, who said invasive pests are becoming worse annually.

“Every year our state deals with more and more invasive pests who bring potential devastation to our forests and farmlands,” Leonhardt said.

“The arrival of these pests is almost inevitable, but programs like gypsy moth suppression limit the impact these pests have on some of West Virginia’s most valuable resources.”

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, he said.

A final decision to participate in the program must be confirmed by signing a contract with the WVDA by early December 2019.

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The minimum acreage required to participate in the program is 50 contiguous acres of wooded land, and adjoining landowners may combine their properties to meet the acreage requirement.

WVDA Plant Industries Director Tim Brown said the moths can weaken a tree’s defenses.

“Defoliation by gypsy moth caterpillars can weaken trees, making them more susceptible to other pests and diseases,” Brown said.

“We have seen some great success in slowing the spread of gypsy moth here in West Virginia.”

The Cooperative State-County-Landowner (CSCL) Gypsy Moth Program will accept gypsy moth egg mass survey applications from landowners within the program area starting July 1. Application forms and brochures are available .

For more information, contact WVDA Assistant Director Quentin “Butch” Sayers at qsayers@wvda.us or WVDA Gypsy Moth Program Coordinator G. Scott Hoffman at ghoffman@wvda.us 304-788-1066.

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture protects plant, animal, and human health through a variety of scientific, regulatory, and consumer protection programs.

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