Gypsy moth meeting set

Published 11:06 pm Saturday, January 18, 2014

A public meeting on a rather unusual topic — the gypsy moth — will be held in Suffolk next week.

The purpose of the meeting is to inform local residents about a proposed aerial spraying planned for May or June to slow the spread of the destructive pest.

Native to Europe and Asia, the pest was accidentally introduced to North America in 1869. It is well established in the Northeast and parts of the upper Midwest, according to the Slow the Spread Foundation. High populations will cause widespread tree defoliation.

Email newsletter signup

“After multiple years of defoliation, it can really destroy the trees,” said Gina Goodwyn of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Surveys conducted last summer detected gypsy moth populations in Suffolk, so the spraying will be conducted to prevent them from taking hold here and spreading farther south. The moth prefers to feed on oak trees but will feed on more than 300 species.

The proposed spraying would be conducted one time from an airplane and would contain a pheromone that hampers the ability of the male moth to find and mate with a female moth, according to a press release from the city of Suffolk.

The public information session on Tuesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. will be hosted by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service. It will be held at the East Suffolk Recreation Center, 138 S. Sixth St.

For more information, visit the Gypsy Moth Slow the Spread Foundation website at Call 540-394-2507 or email for more information.