Worthington News

Planes flying low to disrupt moth mating


No, Worthington was not being invaded Monday morning, June 23, nor was Don Scott Field hosting an air show.

The low-flying planes that awoke some residents and scared many others were actually state planes dropping pellets to curb the spread of gypsy moths.

Worthington city staff members received several calls from people who were concerned about planes that flew over the city several times, skimming only about 100 to 200 feet above treetops.

The city and other entities had announced the aerial treatment program via various media. When callers were told what was happening, most said they then remembered hearing about the program, city clerk Kay Thress said.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture applied the treatment to about 46,000 acres in Delaware and Franklin counties, including Worthington.

The department uses a single application of a product called Disrupt II. The product does not kill the moth, but it disrupts the mating process by confusing the male as it searches for a mate.

According to a press release from the state, the product is not harmful to birds, plants, pets or humans.

The gypsy moth is a non-native invasive species that feeds on the leaves of more than 300 different trees and shrubs and is especially fond of oak.

A healthy tree usually can withstand only two years of defoliation before it is permanently damaged or dies.

To date, 51 of Ohio's 88 counties have established gypsy-moth populations.