Geneva is one of 11 northern Illinois locations that will be organically treated by the U.S. Forest Service’s nationwide campaign to curtail the destructive spongy moth, according to an Illinois Department of Agriculture.
The U.S. Forest Service’s contractor will be using airplanes to spray at 7 a.m. Wednesday or Thursday, June 21 or 22, weather permitting, to target the Fabyan Forest Preserve and Settler’s Hill Golf Course area east of the Fox River. However, the treatment area and fly zone include residential portions on Geneva’s east side, according to the Department of Agriculture map.
The low-flying, yellow airplanes will be loud as they deploy a natural application, comprised of vegetable oil and wax, which has been regulated by the EPA. The Department of Agriculture says no pesticides are being used, and there is no threat to residents. The process will take about one hour.
The application does not kill the spongy moth but rather acts as a deterrent for breeding. The substance, once landing, has the consistency of hand cream and can be washed off with soap and water.
A Department of Agriculture representative will be available to answer questions from the community during an informal open house from 3 to 5 p.m. Monday, April 3 at the Geneva Public Library, 227 S. Seventh St. Residents unable to attend the session can contact Nancy Johnson, an Illinois Spongy Moth Program Manager, by calling 815-787-5476 or sending her an email.
Historically known as the gypsy moth, the non-native pest is known for stripping plants and trees bare, leaving them susceptible to disease and potential death. Unlike the emerald ash borer, the spongy moth is not a picky eater and will devour almost anything leafy and green.
The federal government’s spongy moth suppression program will start in North Carolina this spring and move northeast into Minnesota by summer. The U.S. Forest Service is coordinating its program in Illinois with the State’s Department of Agriculture, which will be posting updates on its Facebook page in late June.
For more information, visit the Illinois Department of Agriculture or the Slow The Spread websites.