WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Maryland has doubled its efforts in the war on gypsy moths this spring, spraying twice as much forest land as it did last year to ward off the destructive caterpillar.
In Washington County, about 17,000 acres have been sprayed - more than double the 7,000 acres that were treated here last year, said Julianne A. Oberg, spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Agriculture.
Across the state, sprayers will hit almost 100,000 acres in 13 counties this spring with aerial insecticides.
"It's cyclical, how the moths go," Oberg said. "We've had two really bad years."
Gypsy moths can destroy thousands of acres of hardwood trees after their yearly hatch in the early spring.
Oberg said the state saw a huge upswing in the gypsy moth population last year because of an unusually dry spring.
She said wet weather in the spring creates a fungus that kills off much of the gypsy moth population.