Neighborhoods prepare for gypsy moth spraying - KPTV - FOX 12

Neighborhoods prepare for gypsy moth spraying

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Gypsy moth spray area. (Map: Oregon Department of Agriculture) Gypsy moth spray area. (Map: Oregon Department of Agriculture)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

The Oregon Department of Agriculture plans to spray an organic insecticide across thousands of acres Saturday to eradicate invasive gypsy moths.

The first of three helicopter applications is set to begin early in the morning, pending any changes in the weather, and will include portions of St. Johns, Forest Park and Hayden Island.

The areas will be sprayed with the biological insecticide known as BTK because last year the state says they detected the Asian gypsy moth, a plant eating invasive species, in Portland’s Forest Park and in St. Johns.

The state said there currently is a national policy in place to keep gypsy moths from establishing, so this how they're dealing with the situation.

State officials note that people living in the affected areas have been notified about the spraying, and a majority of the treatment area is nonresidential. 

Some home owners are still upset, though, because they feel the insecticide isn't safe to be around and could be harmful to the environment.  

One woman who didn't want to be identified even posted signs outside of her house warning people about the situation.

The Department of Agriculture claims the commercial BTK product being used is considered a “low risk” pesticide by the EPA and is certified organic. The state also noted it is unlikely indirect exposure would affect crops or health.

Officials do recommend anyone with a weakened immune system or serious food allergies to avoid the spray area during the application as a precaution.

The state also recommends that people wait to go outside for 30 minutes after the application as a precaution.

The first treatment is slated to start 30 minutes before sunrise Saturday and last for a couple hours.

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