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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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RELEASE: 4/27/01
CONTACT: Sharon A. Southard or Amy Collings
609-984-1795 or 609-292-2994


Due to a heavy infestation of gypsy moths on approximately 4,000 acres of state land, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will be conducting a gypsy moth suppression program with a naturally occurring bacterium, Bacillus Thuringiensis (B.t.).

As part of the suppression program, five state parks, forests and fish and wildlife areas in Passaic, Bergen, and Burlington counties will be aerially sprayed beginning the second week of May and ending, weather permitting, by June 1.

More than 132,000 acres in New Jersey were affected by gypsy moth larvae in 2000, which represents a significant increase from the 1,375 acres in 1999. Between 1991 and 1997 gypsy moth populations were kept at low levels by the Japanese fungus Entomophaga Maimaiga. The effectiveness of this fungus was diminished by the drought years of 1998 and 1999, resulting in the current, large return of gypsy moths across the state.

"In an effort to curb the growing gypsy moth population, we will treat the state's most heavily infested public areas," said State Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Shinn. "The suppression program uses a biological insecticide targeted specifically to the gypsy moth. This necessary measure to fight the infestation will benefit forest resources, park users and residents living near state lands who are impacted by the migrating gypsy moth caterpillars."

Actual spray dates will be available at the following participating State Park Service and State Fish and Wildlife areas beginning May 1.

  • Long Pond-Ironworks State Park, Passaic County, (973-962-7031)
  • Norvin Green State Forest, Passaic County, (973-962-7031)
  • Ramapo State Forest, Passaic and Bergen counties, (973-962-7031)
  • Rancocas State Park, Burlington County, (609-726-1191)
  • Ringwood State Park, Bergen and Passaic counties, (973-962-7031)
  • Wanaque Fish and Wildlife Area, Passaic County, (973-962-7031)

Gypsy moth eggs which hatch in April or May, are most commonly found in oak trees. The insects feed on and denude foliage, causing trees to weaken and become more susceptible to diseases and wood boring insects.

For more information about the gypsy moth suppression program contact the DEP's State Forestry Service at 609-292-2520.



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