Gypsy moth treatment on Fermilab grounds next week

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will overfly Fermilab next week to spread plastic flakes to disrupt moth mating. Photo courtesy of USDA

Sometime on June 24 or 25, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will overfly Fermilab, using between two and five airplanes to disperse a chemical that disrupts mating behavior in male gypsy moths.

The chemical is contained in tiny plastic flakes that will be scattered over an area of approximately 5,000 acres, including most of the southwestern portion of the lab and extending south to I-88. The airplanes (see picture) will fly very low, less than 100 feet above treetop level, to ensure that the flakes are delivered accurately. The flakes are not toxic and do not pose a threat to humans or other animals or plants. This action is supported by an agreement between DOE and USDA.

No special precautions need to be taken by anyone who may be outdoors at the time of treatment.

In case of bad weather, June 26 is the date for the back-up plan.