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Gypsy moth outbreak hitting Tri-state

Maryland urges residents to report damage and egg masses

Maryland urges residents to report damage and egg masses

July 10, 2007

ANNAPOLIS - The Maryland Department of Agriculture is urging residents to help it combat the worst gypsy moth outbreak to hit the state since at least 1995.

Despite the department's spraying of more than 50,000 acres of public and privately owned land in May, wooded areas of Washington, Frederick, Allegany, Garrett, Cecil, Harford, Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Howard, Montgomery and Carroll counties "are having problems with defoliation by the gypsy moth," the department said in a news release.

Landowners are being encouraged to call their nearest regional Forest Pest Management Office to report gypsy moth damage.

"Many areas that were not expected to have gypsy moth damage and have not had any problems in recent years are now being defoliated unexpectedly," said Mary Ellen Setting, MDA assistant secretary for plant industries and pest management.

"We are asking landowners to report defoliation and egg masses to their nearest MDA field office so that we can prepare next spring's gypsy moth suppression program to protect against further damage to our forests and neighborhood trees."

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The increase in gypsy moth populations this year can most likely be attributed to dry weather the last two seasons, the department said. It said dry weather generally benefits the gypsy moth because it discourages the spread of the virus and fungal diseases that can infect and kill gypsy moth caterpillars.

At this time of the year, gypsy moths are mostly full grown and have already done their damage, so spraying and other preventative measures are not likely to be effective, the department said.

"The best actions to take are those which preserve the health of the trees," MDA said. "Trees that have lost 60 percent or more of their leaves to the gypsy moth are at the greatest risk. These trees may try to re-foliate, and will be in a weak and vulnerable condition.

"Trees can benefit greatly from being watered with a slow trickle of water over several hours. Water flow should be slow enough so that there is not run-off, but that allows the water to pool and soak into the ground. Homeowners are encouraged to also seek the advice of an arborist or Licensed Tree Care Expert."

A list of Licensed Tree Care Experts is online at www.dnr.state.md.us/forests/tree_expert_search.asp

More information about the gypsy moth, what homeowners can do, and current conditions is available online at www.mda.state.md.us/go/gypsymoth.com or by calling any of the five MDA regional offices.

In eastern Washington County and all of Frederick County, call 301-662-2074. In western Washington County and counties west of it, call 301-777-3601.

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