West Virginia landowners can register for gypsy moth program

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia agriculture officials are asking landowners to register for a program to help slow the spread of gypsy moths.

Application forms are available online and are being taken through Aug. 31. The forms require a nonrefundable survey deposit of $1 per acre and will be applied toward payment for treatment if the landowner qualifies.

The agriculture department said a forest health protection specialist will determine whether the level of infestation meets guidelines. A contract to participate must be signed by early December.

At least 50 contiguous acres of wooded land is required to participate. Adjoining landowners may combine properties to meet the requirement.

Plant Industries Assistant Director Butch Sayers said gypsy moths feed on hundreds of species of trees and shrubs, including West Virginia hardwoods. Affected trees can become more susceptible to other pests and diseases.