The male and female Gypsy Moth.
The male and female Gypsy Moth.

HARDIN COUNTY — In an effort to slow the spread of the destructive Gypsy Moth, the Ohio Department of Agriculture will implement an aerial treatment program across areas threatened by the insect.

Gypsy moths are invasive insects that attack more than 300 different types of trees and shrubs, with oak being the preferred species. In its caterpillar stage, the moth feeds heavily on the leaves of trees and shrubs limiting their ability to photosynthesize. A healthy tree can usually withstand only two years of defoliation before it is permanently damaged or dies.

Hardin County has been selected as a "Slow-the-Spread" program region which occurs in counties in front of the larger, advancing gypsy moth population. In these counties, officials work to detect and control isolated populations in an effort to slow the overall advancing gypsy moth infestation.

Those with questions who live near a treatment area will have the opportunity to talk with experts at the open house on Thursday, Feb. 20, from 6 to 8 p.m., at the OSU Extension Office, 1021 W. Lima St., Kenton. Citizens can also visit http://agri.ohio.gov/divs/plant/gypsy/gypsy-index.aspx to learn more about this pest and to view maps of the treatment areas.