Home Page

Aerial spraying to fight moth infestation in mountains west of city

A Douglas fir tussock moth is shown in its larvae/caterpillar stage (right) and as an adult. Like the western spruce budworm, it's during the larvae stage that the moth eats away tree needles.
Courtesy of U.S. Forest Service
Hoping to stop a “near-epidemic infestation of two species of defoliating moths,” the Colorado Springs Forestry Division has announced plans to begin aerial spraying over roughly 4,000 acres of mountain forest, starting June 21.
       The two culprits are the Douglas-fir tussock moth and western spruce budworm. “Their activity causes thousands of trees to become defoliated, or have the needles eaten down to the branch or twig,” a press release states. “These trees are brown and 'appear dead,' although many may not be.”
       "The city has hired Frontier Helicopter, which will use a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter to apply a biological control pesticide treatment,” the release continues. The operation is estimated to last 7 to 10 days, weather-dependent.
       Affected areas will include parts of North Cheyenne Canyon, Blodgett Peak Open Space, Jones Park, Cheyenne Mountain State Park and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. This will also mean road and trail closures “for short periods of time during treatment,” the release adds.
       For more information and a map of the spray area, go to coloradosprings.gov/tussock.

From a press release
(Posted 6/15/16, updated 6/16/16; Outdoors: General)

Would you like to respond to this article? The Westside Pioneer welcomes letters at editor@westsidepioneer.com. (Click here for letter-writing criteria.)