Attention Richmond Beach: State Dept of Agriculture will be aerial spraying Woodway for gypsy moth

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Gypsy moths ate one-third of the tree cover
in Massachusetts in 2017
Photo courtesy WSDA

Starting Thursday, May 14, 2020 a low-flying aircraft will spray a product called Btk on Woodway to help eradicate both gypsy moth and Hokkaido gypsy moth.

The product is a naturally occurring soil bacteria, Btk (Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki.) It is not considered harmful to humans, pets, birds, fish or bees, but it is sticky. 

It washes off with soap and water but residents near the spray area may want to cover cars and remove items normally left outside.

Btk will be sprayed in three applications approximately 3 – 14 days apart. All treatments are weather dependent and the schedule is subject to change. 

The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) expects to complete all applications by the middle of June.

People in or near the treatment areas can sign up for alerts HERE, which are sent out the day before applications take place. The public can also enter an address in a map on the agency website to verify whether their residence is near a treatment area.

Spray area - Woodway in
Snohomish county

Gypsy moths pose a serious threat to Washington’s environment, with the caterpillars feeding on over 500 types of trees, plants and shrubs. The pest is permanently established in 20 states across the Northeast and Midwest, where it has defoliated millions of acres of forest and urban trees.

In 2017, gypsy moth caterpillars defoliated one-third of the entire state of Massachusetts and in 2018, they lost about one-quarter of their hardwood trees, including three-quarters of their oak trees, in large part due to gypsy moth infestations.

WSDA has been trapping for gypsy moths for over 40 years and has successfully prevented them from establishing in Washington by safely eradicating reproducing populations. 

Visit the agency’s gypsy moth webpage to learn more or call the WSDA toll-free hotline at 1-800-443-6684.


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