MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) - Gypsy moth spraying is winding down around the state, but officials are still on alert for more spread of the insect.
Spraying this season has focused on the western half of the state, where the moth has not taken a full foothold. DATCP spokesperson Donna Gilson says gypsy moths have fully invaded the eastern half of the state including Marathon, Portage and Wood counties. All three counties are under the state's quarantine zone, which prevents the movement of firewood and other outdoor woods to areas outside the zone.
But Gilson says central Wisconsin has been spared the full invasion, for now. "It just means we haven't located a population of moths that's reproducing, but we still keep on looking every year." The quarantine zones are established when an area has a number of years with high counts in moth traps.
Marathon County was last heavily sprayed in 2009 for the moths. Landowners inside the zone can apply for moth spraying if they find large infestations of moths in their properties. Trees favored by gypsy moth larvae include oaks, crabapple, linden, willow, birch, and aspen, and the caterpillars can defoliate whole trees during the spring months.
Gilson says they're still monitoring the central and northern parts of the state. "We do this trapping every summer to find populations we still have a chance of knocking down, and then next year we'll go in and spray those areas."
You can find out more about gypsy moths online at http://gypsymoth.wi.gov/