Invasive Moth the Target of Pesticide-Spraying Helicopter in Aurora, Officials Say – NBC Chicago

Residents of suburban Aurora will likely notice a low-flying helicopter in the area on Tuesday morning as authorities spray pesticides to battle an invasive European moth capable of decimating multiple species of trees.

According to a press release, the spraying will target the destructive spongy moth, previously known as a “gypsy moth.”

The moths have become permanently established in Illinois after coming over from Europe, and have been known to decimate forests. Officials say that huge numbers of caterpillars can strip leaves completely from trees, and if that process continues, the tree will ultimately die.

Officials are targeting portions of the Oakhurst Forest Preserve Area with a pesticide known as Btk, which is a bacterium that contains a natural substance that is toxic to spongy moths and its caterpillars, who will ingest it when they eat leaves on trees.

Officials say that the pesticide is not toxic to people or animals, and is approved for use in residential areas, having been used in Chicago since the 1980’s.

 Residents could potentially notice a low-flying helicopter as it sprays the area around the forest, and officials say there is no cause for alarm during that process.

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