- Associated Press - Monday, March 14, 2016

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia officials are proposing to conduct aerial treatments of 12,000 acres in five counties this spring to slow the spread of gypsy moths.

The state Department of Agriculture says it plans to conduct spraying in May in Grant, Hardy, Pendleton, Pocahontas and Summers counties.

The gypsy moth is a non-native caterpillar that has become established in most of the northeastern United States. It feeds on hundreds of species of trees and shrubs but prefers the leaves of oak trees, West Virginia’s predominant forest tree.

Officials say large numbers of caterpillars are expected in the proposed treatment area and could reach high enough levels to kill trees unless treated. Officials say no rare, threatened or endangered species would be harmed by the treatments.

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