The City of Freeport was notified by the Illinois Department of Agriculture that Freeport has several hotspots of the invasive moth species Lymantria disbar or Spongy Moth. In early spring, the caterpillars of these invasive moths feed on the leaves of hardwood trees like oaks. During outbreaks, caterpillars can defoliate entire forests, which weaken trees and kills them. Spongy Moth caterpillars are also a nuisance in recreational and residential areas.
Due to the warning levels of Spongy Moths in Freeport, the IL Department of Agriculture will be conducting their pest management program to reduce the spread of this species. This will involve the use of aerially-sprayed insecticides starting in May through June.
These insecticides include BTK, a naturally occurring bacterium found on leaves and soil that kills the caterpillars of various moths and butterflies. BTK bacteria does not cause diseases in people, mammals, birds or fish. Other insects like honeybees, ladybugs, and other beneficial insects are not affected by BTK.
Two series of BTK are applied from aircrafts like helicopters to areas where Lymantria dispar threaten trees and the public. This is currently scheduled for May 23, 2022. The following areas are included in the aerial application:
TREATMENT APPLICATION AREAS
AREA 1: Winneshiek Rd to Henderson Rd to IL HWY 20
AREA 2: Willow Lake: Eagle Dr to Jay St to Chelsea Ave to Fairview Rd.
AREA 3: FHN: HWY 20 to Walnut Ave to Stephenson St to Mernitz Ave
For more information, please contact the Illinois Department of Agriculture Northern Field Office in DeKalb at 815-787-5476 or visit slowthespread.org.
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