Gypsy moth spraying set to begin in Marysville, decision pending in Seattle

Posted: Monday, May 08, 2000

MARYSVILLE, Wash. (AP) -- Spraying to prevent the spread of the gypsy moth is set to begin here this week, and a decision is pending on plans for spraying over widespread protests in two north Seattle neighborhoods.

Three rounds of spraying are planned over the next month in the town's Brighton Park area, where nine of European gypsy moths were caught in monitoring traps last year and three egg clusters were found in October.

All of the affected property owners have consented to the spraying, which will begin as early as Wednesday, weather permitting, said John Lundberg, a spokesman for the state Agriculture Department's gypsy moth program.

Half of the more than 40 moths caught statewide last year were in Snohomish County, Lundberg said Saturday.

A single 2-inch gypsy moth caterpillar can eat about one square foot of leaf surface a day. A mature female can lay as many as 1,000 eggs.

In Seattle, Gov. Gary Locke is expected to decide this week whether to proceed with the application of insecticide to try to eradicate the Asian gypsy moth on 725 acres of land containing more than 2,200 houses and businesses in the Ballard and Magnolia area.

Many residents are skeptical of state claims that there is no danger to humans from the insecticide, Foray 48B.

State officials say the Asian moth is a bigger danger because the females can fly farther, as much as 20 miles, to lay their eggs and because the caterpillars chop through evergreen needles as well as broadleaf trees and shrubs.

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