The gypsy moth infestation spreads along the Outer Banks; treatments planned for 2022
More gypsy moths have been found in more places along the Outer Banks, with the state planning to treat affected areas in late spring 2022.
The invasive species feeds on the leaves of more than 300 species of trees and shrubs, mainly oaks and deciduous trees.
When areas become heavily infested, trees can be completely stripped of their foliage, leaving garden trees and entire forests more vulnerable to attack from other pests. Severe infestations often kill trees.
Gypsy moth caterpillars can also pose public health concerns for people with respiratory problems. In areas with a high density of gypsy moth populations, the hairs and droppings of the caterpillars can cause severe allergic reactions.
The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has been responsible for one-time introductions of gypsy moth into North Carolina since the 1970s. Treatment will be carried out in cooperation with the US Department of Forest Service. Agriculture and the Gypsy Moth Slow the Spread Foundation, Inc.
An area of ââBuxton Woods on Hatteras Island has been treated for gypsy moths several times over the past decade.
Three additional areas on the Outer Banks, Southern Shores and Duck, Southern Corolla and Carova Beach, have now been identified by agriculture officials as in need of treatment. Two other areas are on Knotts Island and northwest Camden County.
Public meetings will be held in the coming months on the proposed treatments. One is scheduled for Tuesday, February 8 at 6:30 p.m. at Duck Town Hall.
If you are unable to attend the meeting in person, you can obtain more information, submit a public comment, or request email / text notifications regarding processing dates by visiting www.ncagr.gov/GypsyMoths/treat .
North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Processing Areas Description:
Martin Point area: This 3,168 acre proposed treatment block is the Duck area in Dare County. In 2020, we captured a total of two male moths in this block. In 2021, that number has increased to twenty-seven. A mating disruption application is proposed for this block in May or June.
Mossey Island region: This proposed 1933 acre processing block is located in Currituck County. This is a county quarantine for Lymantria dispar. In 2020, we did not catch any male moths in this block. In 2021, that number has risen to twenty-three. A mating disruption application is proposed for this block in May or June.
Buxton region: This proposed 1,194 acre processing block is located on the west side of Buxton in County Dare. NC 12 crosses the north side of the block and Cape Hatteras National Seashore is to the south. It is a mixture of residential areas, commercial development and a large maritime forest. There are small streams, canals and swamps in the block and the Pamlico Strait borders the north side. The wooded areas are made up of oaks, pines and various other deciduous and coniferous trees. Previous treatments for mating disruption and Gypchek and Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki at this site significantly reduced the population, but follow-up trapping indicates that there is still a breeding population present in this block. In 2020, we captured a total of thirty-nine male butterflies in this block. In 2021, that number has risen to twenty. A mating disruption application is proposed for this block in May or June.
Lake Drummond region: This proposed 5,673 acre processing block is located in Camden County and continues north to Virginia. On the North Carolina side, this block consists mainly of the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge and the Dismal Swamp State Park. There are no residences in the block. In 2020, we captured a total of four male moths in this block. By 2021, that number has increased to one hundred and forty-seven, meaning that a breeding population is present. A mating disruption app is offered for this block in late May or June.
Knotts Island Region: This proposed 311 acre processing block is in Currituck County and continues north into Virginia. This is a county quarantine for Lymantria dispar. In 2020, we captured a total of four hundred and eighty-two male moths in this block. In 2021, that number has increased to eight hundred and fifty-two. A mating disruption application is proposed for this block in May or June.
More information on the biology and treatment options for gypsy moth: