In order to make things simpler and more current we are starting a new thread that addresses the cankerworm plan over the next few months. This plan is two part. The first part of the plan is the WV Department of Agriculture (WVDA) study that is currently being conducted. WVDA has selected 39 sites throughout Shannondale/RVP/JBF. At each of these sites they have sticky banded three trees ( 9 trees at the three control sites) The sticky bands catch the females as they emerge from the ground and climb the trees to lay their eggs from November through February/March and WVDA counts these moths. More than forty five female moths per tree indicates moderate defoliation and over 90 predicts heavy defoliation. It is too early on in the WVDA study to make a prediction but the numbers in some places are already high even though the moths have only been hatching out for the past few weeks. The moths will continue to hatch out over the next three to four months so the numbers will undoubtedly increase dramatically. WVDA will regularly check the sticky bands and we will report in this thread what they find. WVDA will also be doing an egg viability study, most likely in March 2015. The second part of the plan is the fund raising effort by the SGMC for aerial spraying. The only effective way to control the extreme outbreak of cankerworms that we are experiencing is aerial treatment with BT. BT is a biological pest management tool that is commonly used for a variety of pests. It is a bacterium commonly found in forest soils. While it is toxic to the caterpillars, it is totally safe for humans, animals, aquatic life and other insects. It is not a chemical and does not kill on contact. It interferes with the digestive system of the caterpillar so they eventually die. We are in great need of contributions from ALL landowners toward aerial treatment to suppress these caterpillars. We won’t have an exact goal until we are further along in the WVDA study but at this point it is likely we are going to at least have to treat the 1000 acres that were heavily defoliated this past spring. The cost per acre is anticipated to be $40 so we would need to raise $40,000. This is the minimum goal however, and it could very well be higher depending on what the study shows. As of 11/24 we were at almost 5% of this goal. If we don’t raise enough money to treat the areas that need it, the money will stay in the Shannondale Gypsy Moth Fund until we do raise enough to treat. We know this is a community that cares so please do your part to help protect our trees and donate toward the aerial treatment that is essential to control the terrible outbreak we are having of this destructive pest. We all have so much to lose if we can’t get this under control.