By Associated Press - Monday, February 17, 2020

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois officials’ plan to combat infestations of the gypsy moth will be the focus of several upcoming meetings in the northern part of the state.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture has planned nine open houses to discuss treatment strategies at infested sites, including the use of a naturally occurring bacteria and a pheromone specific to gypsy moths that prevents males from breeding.

Officials said there’s no danger to humans, pets or other wildlife.

The non-native pest eats more than 250 species of trees and shrubs but particularly feeds on oak leaves.

Officials say large populations can strip plants bare, making them vulnerable to other insects and disease. Trees also can die because of severe defoliation.

More information on the treatment sites in DuPage, Jo Daviess, Kendall, Ogle and Will counties is available at the department’s web site. Information about the open house events also is on the department’s site.

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