Low-flying planes seen Monday in some areas of Hancock County were part of an aerial spraying program for gypsy moths conducted by the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
The spraying took place in Hancock, Hardin and Allen counties on Monday, and in other areas earlier this month.
Airplanes flew 100 to 200 feet above tree tops and buildings to apply the treatment throughout the day, including in an area on the east side of Findlay, according to the department.
In all, 8,380 acres in Allen, Hancock, Hardin, Marion, Paulding, Union and Wyandot counties were treated as part of this year’s program.
The department operates multiple programs aimed at managing the gypsy moth in Ohio.
One, the Slow-the-Spread program, focuses on monitoring, detecting, and reducing isolated populations to slow the gypsy moth’s movement across the state through treatments.
In all counties receiving treatment, including Hancock County, the department used a single application of the product SPLAT GM-O.
The product does not kill the moth, but disrupts the mating process by confusing the male as it searches for a female mate.
SPLAT GM-O is an organic product and 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 can usually withstand only two years of defoliation before it is permanently damaged or dies.