All scheduled 2016 gypsy moth pheromone flake treatments, for both Allamakee and Jackson Counties, have been completed as of June 27, 2016.

No other treatments are planned for 2016

Thank you to all of the land owners for your cooperation.


Treatments for gypsy moth are being scheduled for the spring of 2016 in northeast Iowa in Allamakee and Jackson Counties. Please refer to the left menu for public meeting notices, maps of the treatment areas, and treatment information.

Gypsy moth is a Federal and State quarantined leaf-eating insect that is a serious threat to forest and urban trees, as well as ornamental plants. This pest is not native to North America and has the potential to defoliate trees year after year causing significant environmental, economic, and quality-of-life issues.

You may be wondering why do we treat for gypsy moth, and why is it such a concern for Iowa? Gypsy moth is not part of the natural ecosystem, and doing nothing is not the same as letting nature take its course.

Gypsy moth has no significant enemies to keep the pest population in check. A single gypsy moth caterpillar can consume as much as one square foot of leaves per day, and large pest outbreaks can devastate entire forest and urban areas, leaving a bleak winter-like appearance in mid-summer. Infestations of this pest are taken very seriously for the following reasons.

Eastern Iowa is considered to be in the transition zone of gypsy moth advancement. Small pockets of infestation are becoming more common in northeastern Iowa, as would be noticed from the natural advancement of this pest. The established 'western' front for gypsy moth is now considered to be 35 miles east of the Mississippi River.

As the gypsy moth continues to advance, and as more small pockets of gypsy moth infestation become common ahead of the front, the management strategy has been to "slow the spread" of the pest. The best way to control low populations of gypsy moth over a large area is to use mating disruption. This strategy uses the pheromone attractant of the female gypsy moth to confuse the male moth in finding a mate, which in turn limits or controls natural reproduction of the pest. This strategy is especially effective when the pest density per area is low to moderate in size.

Determining Treatment Locations

Iowa is currently included in the Gypsy Moth Slow the Spread Foundation (STS). STS provides the framework for states to determine the areas that need to be managed for gypsy moth. This program focuses on early detection of low level gypsy moth populations, and then disrupts the normal build-up and spread of gypsy moth in those locations.

What to Expect on Treatment Day

Aircraft typically begin early in the day and will continue until done depending on weather conditions. The airplane will fly over the treatment area by making several passes and will be noticeably loud. An area of 1 square mile will take about 30 minutes to complete.

Disrupt® Bio-Flake GM is a biodegradable pheromone flake product that uses an inert sticker similar to Elmer’s® glue to adhere the flake to tree foliage. Approximately ¼ to ½ cup of flakes along with 2 to 4 tablespoons of sticker are applied per acre. The flakes are very small; typically less than ⅛ an inch, and are scarcely noticed when applied at these rates. Perhaps only 1 to 2 flakes per 10 square feet can be found on the ground.

Splat GM™ is another pheromone product that looks similar to hand cream and forms a waxy flake when dry. The product is applied in very fine droplets when released from the airplane, and is designed to stick to tree foliage. The application rate of the product ranges from less than 1 oz. to 1 cup per acre.

These products are not harmful to humans, animals or the environment. The pheromone active ingredient has been used in other products for more than 20 years to manage gypsy moth infestations on almost 6 million acres. The biodegradable polymer has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for various applications in humans, such as a drug delivery device, encapsulating drugs for controlled release, sutures and adhesion barriers. The polymer eventually degrades into carbon dioxide and water.

The pheromone active ingredient mimics the sex attractant produced by the female gypsy moth creating a distinct scent trail that the male moth uses to locate her for mating. It is species specific meaning that it targets only the gypsy moth and no other insects, fish, reptiles, birds or mammals.

These products work by interfering with the scent communication between the adult male and female moths. It is not a chemical that will kill the gypsy moth, but will hide or “mask” the scent trail the male moth follows to locate the female for mating purposes. When the product is aerially applied over trees, the tiny flakes start to slowly release a small amount of gypsy moth pheromone into the area.

As the released pheromone permeates throughout the treated area, it covers up the distinct scent trails produced by the female gypsy moths. Therefore the male moths cannot find and mate with the female moths causing a significant decrease in fertilized eggs and reducing the gypsy moth population.