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Ohio Department of Agriculture to Begin Spongy Moth Treatments

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) will soon begin aerial treatments to control populations of the Spongy Moth (formerly Gypsy Moth) in Ohio, through a means by which the mating cycle is disrupted.

The following areas in Southeast Ohio will receive treatments sometime between June 14 and June 16, weather permitting:

  • Washington/Noble Counties: Dalzell
  • Noble County: Macksburg, Lowell, Caldwell North
  • Morgan County: Reinersville
  • Perry County: New Lexington
  • Hocking/Athens Counties: Union

The following areas in Central Ohio will receive treatments sometime between June 15 and June 17, weather permitting:

  • Licking County: Hanover 1 & 2, Hickman, Perryton, Utica, Newark
  • Knox County: Hunt, Martinsburg
  • Franklin County: Northwest Columbus (Upper Arlington, Hilliard areas)

The following areas in Northwest Ohio will receive treatments sometime between June 16 and June 21, weather permitting:

  • Hancock County: Arlington
  • Allen/Putnam Counties: Columbus Grove
  • Allen/Putnam/Van Wert Counties: Delphos
  • Paulding County: Payne

Treatments are administered using a low-flying yellow aircraft, approximately 100 feet above the tree tops.

In all areas receiving treatments, ODA will use a single application of the product SPLAT GM-O. This product does not kill the moth, but it disrupts the mating process by confusing the male as it searches for a female mate. SPLAT is an organic and biodegradable formula that is completely harmless to both humans and animals. If you come into contact with it, simply wash the affected area with soap and water. Clothing can be cleaned with hot water and laundry detergent. The product is not harmful to birds, bees, plants, pets or humans.

Ohioans can view maps of treatment blocks at ODA’s Spongy Moth website. When the project begins, daily updates on treatment progress across the state will be available on the website or by calling 614-387-0907 or 614-728-6400.

Spongy Moths are invasive insects that defoliate over 300 species of trees and shrubs. In its caterpillar stage, the moth feeds on the leaves of trees and shrubs and is especially fond of oak. A healthy tree can usually withstand only two years of defoliation before it is permanently damaged or dies. In Ohio, 51 counties are currently under Spongy Moth quarantine regulations.

ODA uses three programs to manage the Spongy Moth population in Ohio. The suppression program is used in counties where the pest is already established, but landowners voluntarily request treatment to help suppress populations. The second program, slow-the-spread, occurs in counties in front of the larger, advancing Spongy Moth population. The third program is the eradication program, used in counties where isolated populations develop ahead of advancing moth populations due to human movement of the moth. Officials work to detect and control isolated populations to slow the overall advancement of the Spongy Moth infestation.

For more information about the Spongy Moth or for specific treatment locations, visit ODA’s Spongy Moth webpage.