An open house is scheduled 6:30 to 8 p.m. Jan. 27 at Zeiger Elementary School, 13008 94th Ave. E, Puyallup, to discuss the state Department of Agriculture’s proposal to spray trees and plants in the parking lot of the South Hill Mall with an insecticide to treat for European gypsy moths.
Officials from the agency will be on hand to answer questions. The agriculture department wants to do three to five applications of the insecticide Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki starting in the spring.
Gypsy moth eggs were found in vegetation in the parking lot of the mall in Puyallup.
“What makes (the gypsy moth) such an insidious threat is that it eats from most leaf-bearing trees. Also, once it gets established, it reproduces incredibly fast,” said John Lundberg, an agriculture department spokesman.
The insecticide would be applied directly to the vegetation after mall hours. The agriculture department has said it’s used across the United States to eradicate gypsy moths and the health risk to humans is very low.
The department is preparing documents outlining the pros and cons of spraying; they’ll be available for public review before a final decision is made.
The department has done 85 gypsy moth eradications since 1979.
There are 19 states in the Northeast and Midwest with permanent populations of the insect. Washington doesn’t have one.