CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) is urging landowners to sign-up for the Cooperative State-County-Landowner (CSCL) Lymantria dispar, formerly Gypsy Moth, Suppression Program. The program is focused on protecting landowners’ forested acreage from devastating effects caused by the invasive Lymantria dispar. The sign-up period runs from July 1 until August 31, 2022.
“West Virginia’s forests are one of the State’s most important resources. From tourism to the timber industry, our forests are an economic driver,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt. “As we face more invasive species such as the spotted lanternfly, we hope people will take advantage of these programs.”
The CSCL Lymantria dispar program started accepting egg mass survey applications from landowners statewide on July 1. Application forms and brochures are available at https://agriculture.wv.gov/divisions/plant-industries/forest-health-protection/.
Landowners may also obtain applications at local WVU Extension offices and WVDA field offices in Charleston (304-558-2212) or New Creek (304-788-1066). A non-refundable survey deposit of $1.00 per acre, not to exceed $500.00, must be submitted with the application. This deposit will be applied toward the payment for treatment if the landowner qualifies.
“The Lymantria dispar, formerly known as gypsy moth, is a non-native, invasive insect that feeds on hundreds of species of trees and shrubs, including West Virginia hardwoods,” said WVDA Plant Industries Assistant Director Butch Sayers. “Defoliation by Lymantria dispar caterpillars can weaken trees, making them more susceptible to other pests and diseases. This treatment program helps safeguard our forests from further damage.”
The minimum acreage required to participate in the program is 50 contiguous acres of wooded land. Adjoining landowners may combine their properties to meet the acreage requirement. Once applications and deposits are received, a forest health protection specialist will visit the landowner’s property to determine if the level of Lymantria dispar infestation meets program guidelines. A final decision will be made in December of 2022.
The West Virginia Department of Agriculture protects plant, animal and human health through a variety of scientific, regulatory and consumer protection programs. The Commissioner of Agriculture is one of six statewide elected officials who sits on the Board of Public Works.