Mayor's letter may have turned tide against BTK

Mayor Michael B. Coleman may have played a crucial role in the Ohio Department of Agriculture's decision to use a more-natural approach to halting the spread of the foliage-chomping gypsy moth in the Sharon Heights neighborhood.

In a letter dated March 3 and directed to the Federal Aviation Administration's Flight Standards District Office, Coleman denied an application for aerial spraying to kill off the invasive insect if a biological insecticide was the method to be used by the department and the U.S. Forest Service in May and June.

"We do, however, support the use of Gypchek pesticide suppression materials and pheromone treatments that are specific to control the gypsy moth in the city of Columbus," Coleman wrote. "While we support the gypsy moth program and efforts associated with the control of gypsy moths, the use of (BTK) would impact all lepidoptera, including butterflies and their food chain."

Coleman also noted Columbus Recreation and Parks officials stopped using BTK in 2006.

"We respectfully request that you respect our policy and utilize the more-targeted Gypchek and/or pheromone treatments to control the gypsy month in the city of Columbus," he wrote.

"I am sure this played a huge role in why the ODA decided to use Gypchek," Clintonville resident Julie Smiley, who was among those urging state officials to use the alternative method, wrote in an email.

-- Kevin Parks