MT. AIRY, N.C. -- A couple in Surry County is worried that an invasive species may be destroying the landscape around them.
- They think it could be spotted gypsy moths, but agriculture experts doubt it
- If left unchecked, gypsy moths can devastate the landscape
- The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services are spraying over 60,000 acres of land
The Manuels recently noticed a change in their garden.
"A lot of trees died. That one had a bunch of bees, and all of them died. Something is killing them, but I don't know what it is,” said Luther Manuel.
They think it could be spotted gypsy moths, but agriculture experts doubt it. Gypsy moth program manager Chris Elder said, “We treat them before they become damaging enough for any of the citizens to notice."
That treatment is what has the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services out spraying over 60,000 acres of land targeting the insect while it's still in the caterpillar stage.
If it’s left unchecked, gypsy moths can devastate the landscape.
Elder said, "It can strip the trees bare. The trees will be completely defoliated in the middle of the summer, and there will be no leaves present, and it really weakens the trees along with other stresses of heat and drought."
But the spraying makes Peggy Manuel concerned for her husband's health.
"He just come out the hospital with four bypass surgeries at 83 years old, and we don't need any form of complications." She wants to know what's in the spray.
Experts say the spray contains only food grade material and it’s not harmful to anything.
Felder assures that "this treatment actually doesn't kill anything. It just confuses the males as they attempt to find the females."
The lotion-like mixture could leave a residue on your property. Plant pest specialist Ginger Hemming said, "It's a waxy substance. If it gets on your vehicle or outdoor furniture, you just wash with warm water and soap."