Spraying is planned in Athens County in an effort to stem the advance of gypsy moths in Ohio, but the county commissioners were told Tuesday that only substances specific to the gypsy moth would be used in the county.

Gayle Goldsmith of the Wayne National Forest and Dave Adkins of the Ohio Department of Agriculture met with the commissioners to talk about what is planned.

Disrupt II, a pheromone flake mating inhibitor, and Gypchek, a virus product, would be used in Athens County, according to Adkins, who said both impact only gypsy moths or their caterpillars.

The Wayne National Forest, in partnership with the Ohio Department of Agriculture, has proposed aerially apply mating disruption alone to approximately 39,818 acres of the Athens District of the Wayne National Forest and aerially applying a larvicide followed by mating disruption to 513 acres of the Athens District.

Two larvicides that were being considered at the time the plan was announced were Btk and Gypchek, but only one larvicide would be selected and applied, Wayne officials announced.

The Athens County Commissioners have in the past raised objections to Btk because of concerns it can also kill caterpillars of butterflies and other moths. They raised those objections to the Wayne in the past, and again by resending the same letter when the current spraying plan was announced.

Commission President Lenny Eliason said Tuesday he has “not as much” concern after learning that Btk will not be used in Athens County.

Adkins said Btk is not being used in the county because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service raised concerns that a particular insect species would be impacted.

The proposed spraying would be done in Athens, Hocking, Vinton and Perry Counties. It would include areas near New Straitsville, Carbon Hill, Murray City, Buchtel, Nelsonville, Chauncey, Union Furnace, Starr and New Plymouth, according to the news release.

An open house on the gypsy moth praying program will be held Wednesday, Feb. 4, from 6-8 p.m., at the Wayne National Forest Headquarters on Route 33, near Nelsonville.

Adkins told the commissioners that the gypsy moth is an invasive species that causes deforestation.

“Controlling them early is important, because they can populate fast,” Adkins said. “It’s very vital that we get on this insect early ...”

Gypchek would be sprayed in early May and the mating disrupter in June.

Gypsy moths have been found in the Wayne National Forest, but not yet at the level that would cause deforestation, Adkins said.

srobb@athensmessenger.com; Twitter @SteveRmessenger

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