Aerial spraying Monday final step in eradicating gypsy moths in Tukwila

These are the areas where the state sprayed by ground and from the air to eradicate a gypsy-moth infestation. - Washington State Department of Agriculture
These are the areas where the state sprayed by ground and from the air to eradicate a gypsy-moth infestation.
— image credit: Washington State Department of Agriculture

The state completed its gypsy-moth eradication efforts in Tukwila Monday morning with the aerial spraying of about 180 acres.

The aerial spraying follows four ground treatments with a biological insecticide at a 10 1/2-acre core site on Interurban Avenue South at about South 149th Street in Tukwila starting in the spring.

During the one-time, 30-minute flight starting at 5 a.m. Monday, the plane dispensed small flakes of an insect pheromone that will disrupt the moths' mating.

This spraying was intended to prevent any small undetected satellite populations of gypsy moth from becoming established, according to Mike Louisell, a spokesman for the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

The contractor, Al’s Aerial Spraying of Michigan, flew out of Renton Municipal Airport and after the flight, the contractor met with agriculture department and U.S. Department of Agriculture representatives about the flight pattern and the overall effort.

"It was a positive report and now the pilot is headed back to the Midwest," Louisell wrote in an email.

The spraying included a small piece of Renton.

Louisell offered these facts about Disrupt II:

• The scent is specific to gypsy moths. There will be no adverse impacts to other species of moths or butterflies.

• Disrupt II is not harmful to humans, animals or the environment.

• Disrupt II has been used for more than 15 years to manage gypsy moth populations on more than tgwo million acres in several states with no reports of detrimental effects.

The agriculture department is now in the first few weeks of conducting its annual summer trapping for detecting any problem areas in the state for gypsy moth, a forest pest of "great concern," according to Louisell.

The state has 25 trappers setting some 19,000 small tent-shaped traps. The top three counties for the traps are King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, which are major population areas and have key international port traffic that may harbor gypsy-moth eggs, he wrote.

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