Pilots were ready to drop specially scented pellets in parts of Southwest Virginia Tuesday. The hope is to slow the spread of the "all- eating' gypsy moth.
The plan was to put these planes in the sky, but the rain kept them on the ground.
Mike Schiffer is one of the pilots, "Ok so the males are now out flying to mate with the females before the females lay their eggs.
The target, once these planes takeoff, is the male gypsy moth. Blamed by entomologists -bug experts- for chewing up millions of acres of farmland, forest and crops across several states.
"The U.S. Forest Service tracks the gypsy moth into South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinios, Iowa, into Minnesota"
The feds say part of the solution, are green pheromone pellets. About the size of coarse sugar crystals, they're embedded with pheromones that mimick the same scent the female gypsy moth gives off. So instead of one scent to follow, the males are confused by thousands of fake female scents, and they fly till they die.
"He just gets exhausted' said Schiffer, 'and eventually he just dies without ever making it or making out. There you go!"
Entomologists say the plan is to drop pheromone flakes over some 40 thousand acres in Southwest Virginia at 140 miles an hour, creating barrier zones, while there's still time.
Donna Leonard is an entomologist with the U.S. Forestry Service,"The gypsy moth population are still at really low levels around here. They're just becoming established."
Experts say the gypsy moth population can't be killed, but it can be slowed down. The key is making the male crazy while it's looking for love.
"Will the male moth just fly around till he's exhausted and dies or what? That's exactly what happens, he just keeps looking!"
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Fake pheromones used on male gypsy moths
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