The gypsy moth, a highly destructive insect that has damaged millions of acres of forests and urban landscapes, continues to slowly spread throughout the country despite the use of safer, more effective pesticides, according to an article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN).
C&EN Senior Correspondent Stephen K. Ritter notes that the gypsy moth has been plaguing the Northeastern United States and parts of Canada for more than a century. The leaf-munching insects rapidly defoliate trees, leaving trees vulnerable to destruction by disease or other pests. Pest-management workers have counterattacked with a series of powerful pesticides and other weapons over the years, including most recently a sex hormone that disrupts mating and a virus-based pesticide that kills gypsy moth larvae.
Despite these efforts, gypsy moths keep on fluttering and spreading across the nation. A final victory may not be in the cards, but scientists and government agencies are continuing to try new and innovative ways to limit the spread of these tough bugs.