Slowing the Spread of the Gypsy Moth in Wisconsin

By KBJR News 1

July 23, 2013 Updated Jul 23, 2013 at 9:59 AM CDT

Superior, WI (NNCNOW.com) --- In the fight to stop the spread of the destructive gypsy moths, The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture will continue spraying insecticide across Northwestern Wisconsin.

Starting Tuesday, aircrafts will fly over Superior, spraying the forests in an effort to slow the spread of the invasive insects.

Gypsy moths are one of the most invasive and destructive species in forests across America.

"They get up into the trees and can literally defoliate the forest. They can make a green forest look like its wintertime," said Rick Hummel with the Wisconsin Gypsy Moth Slow the Spread Program.

Pilots are gearing up for fly overs of Superior and Douglas County this week in an effort to decrease the gypsy moth population.

They'll be spraying pheromone flakes.

"Tiny tiny pieces of plastic and we take those and we coat them with a female pheromone," said Hummel.

Intended to disrupt the mating process

"We trick them, we confuse them because there's these little pheromone chips all over the place and they can't find the females and so no reproduction takes place and hopefully they will die off in a couple of weeks," said Hummel

This year the program is treating 160 thousand acres in 25 Wisconsin Counties, including 9 thousand here in Superior alone.

"We use GPS to monitor what we're doing and where we do it and where the product goes," said Michael Schiffer.

Pilot Michael Schiffer says he has been working to protect the forests for the last 35 years.

"Wisconsin and Minnesota have beautiful parks along the lake Superior region, do you not want to have trees there?' said Schiffer.

And the environment reaps the benefits of the spraying.

"It helps the greenhouse effect, it helps make more oxygen, it gives us a place to stay," said Schiffer.

The spray operation began at 6 a.m. Tuesday and is expected to wrap up in the early afternoon.

Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati
rmarnati@kbjr.com