The European gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) is a non-native, invasive species that has moved into Ohio from Pennsylvania and Michigan over the years. In its caterpillar stage, it feeds on the leaves of over 300 different tree and shrub species and is especially fond of oak. The big oaks are one of City Park’s best assets and gypsy moths feed on their leaves. Repeated annual defoliation that results from gypsy moth infestation can lead to the death of the tree. In the early 2000’s, City Park became infested with gypsy moths and from that point on, the City’s Arborist has continued efforts to manage the risks associated with these pests.
Burlap tree bands will soon be applied to the trunks of the large oaks in City Park to help reduce the caterpillar population. The banded traps will be in place for the months of May and June.
Later in May, all the oak trees in City Park will receive a Bt (Bacillis thuringiensis) foliar spray. Bt is a naturally-occurring bacterium that will be sprayed by a licensed contractor into the canopy at night while the caterpillars are feeding. This bacterium is not harmful to people or pets; it is specific to caterpillars. However, the park will need to be closed to pedestrian traffic until the spray has dried.
This work is weather dependent and has not been scheduled. A date and subsequent park closure information will be released once determined. The closure is expected to take place for a half day only and will not disrupt the school traffic in the morning.
For more information on gypsy moths, please visit the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s website: https://agri.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/oda/divisions/plant-health/gypsy-moth-program