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Gypsy moths return

March 22, 2007

Gypsy moth populations have rebounded in Washington County and the surrounding areas over the last two years, and defoliation levels by the voracious leaf-eater are expected to increase substantially this year, a local official said.

To help combat the destructive pest, the Washington County Forestry Board is coordinating a cooperative spray program for local landowners, board member Therese Keegan said.

The board, a nonprofit citizens group devoted to promoting education and assistance in the sound use and conservation of forest resources, is planning to "contract with an aerial insecticide applicator at a rate much lower than what most individual landowners would be able to," Keegan said.

The insecticide will be sprayed by helicopter - a more precise and effective operation than by airplane, Keegan said.

She said the rates are expected to be $34 to $38 per acre under the program.

At least a 30-acre spray block is needed to be eligible to participate, Keegan said.

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If you are interested in participating, the Forestry Board will be holding a sign-up period March 27 to 30.

During the sign-up, landowner applications will be made, and a nonrefundable deposit will be collected. Keegan said final bills will be sent after a contractor price is guaranteed for the total program acreage, and these must be paid before spraying begins.

If you are interested, call the Forestry Board at 301-791-4733 by Friday to reserve a sign-up slot or for further information.

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