The Ohio Department of Agriculture will spray to control the European gypsy moth population early this summer.

Gypsy moths are an invasive species, native to Europe and Asia, that can destroy trees and other foliage.

David Adkins, agriculture inspection manager, said the species can be incredibly damaging.

"It will feed on over 300 species of trees and shrubs. If left unchecked, it could cause economic damage," he said.

Adkins said Ohio is one of 11 states participating in a treatment program to slow the spread of the species.

He said the program was started in 2000 and the treatments have been effective.

"With our treatments, we've been able to move the gypsy moth line back 54 miles from where we started," he said.

Adkins said the areas in Franklin County receiving treatment are mostly to the north. He said Bethel Road near the Ohio State University Airport, 2160 W. Case Road, will be treated as will Gahanna and the northern part of Columbus bordering Worthington.

He said the areas will be treated in the early morning in the first week of May and in mid-June by low-flying airplanes.

He said the applications use pheromones to cause a mating disruption.

He said the material is 100% organic, contains gypsy moth pheromone and is safe.

"The product itself won't harm anyone -- humans, birds, bees," he said.

Adkins said campers who travel to Michigan and the northeastern part of the U.S. should clean all equipment before returning. He said firewood also should be checked.

Katie Boyer, public-information officer for the department, said an informational open house has been scheduled at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, at 7125 Sawmill Road, Dublin.