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January 4, 2024  
PO Box 330
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0330          

Jeff Wolfe
P: (609) 913-6559
C: (609) 433-1785


NJ Department of Agriculture Proposes Treating 1,471 acres

(EWING) – The New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA) has proposed treating 1,471 residential municipal acres and approximately 1,500 state-owned acres in Burlington, Cape May, Passaic, and Sussex counties this year to combat the tree-killing Lymantria dispar, dispar (LDD – formerly known as the gypsy moth).

“By treating these areas now, it will help prevent the spread of this pest and significantly reduce its populations for years to come,” NJDA Assistant Secretary Joe Atchison III said.  “This program has been very effective over the last several years and helps save the many types of trees and plants it is capable of feeding on.”

The NJDA held an informational session in Ewing today to outline its 2024 Aerial LDD Suppression program. Egg mass surveys were conducted from September to November in 2023.

A combined four municipalities in residential areas of Burlington, Cape May and Sussex counties are recommended for treatment during the spring of 2024. Participation in the program is voluntary. If the towns agree to participate, treatments will take place in May and June. To qualify for the program, a residential or recreational forest must have an average of more than 500 egg masses per acre and be at least 40 acres in size. A single egg mass contains up to 500 eggs. The plot recommended for treatment in Passaic County is on state-owned land.

Approximately 4,010 acres of forested municipal residential lands were treated in 2023 in Burlington, Cape May, and Ocean counties. In 2022, 8,961 acres were recommended for treatment in Burlington and Cape May counties and the previous year, 2021, only 50 acres were treated in Cape May County. There were no areas of the state recommended for treatment in 2019 and 2020. From 2017 to 2018, the NJDA’s program included approximately 3,900 acres of residential and county owned properties in Burlington, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, and Warren counties. That was about an 80 percent reduction from what was treated on the 2016 program. This population decrease was the result of effective treatments and sporadic E. maimaiga (LDD moth fungus) activity.

The NJDA and Department of Environmental Protection use Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.) to combat the LDD moth.  It is a biological insecticide that kills the LDD caterpillar when ingested.

Two to three consecutive years of significant defoliation (defined as 75 percent or more) can kill an otherwise healthy tree. However, any LDD defoliation can make trees more susceptible to other damage that can lead to the death of the tree. Oak trees are the preferred host for gypsy moths, but the caterpillars can be found feeding on almost any tree.

Regional meetings are scheduled for 10 a.m. on January 17 at the Montague Township Municipal Building in Sussex County, at 10 a.m. on January 18 at the Dennis Township Municipal Building in Cape May County and at 10:00 a.m. January 19 at the Bass River Municipal Building in Burlington County.

For more information on New Jersey’s LDD suppression program, visit: Also, for national LDD material, visit