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Paynesville Press - June 19, 2002

Township, KLA spray for forest tent caterpillars

By Michael Jacobson

For the first time in four years, aerial spraying to kill the larvae of forest tent caterpillars will be done in Paynesville Township.

Bud McMillan, who has monitored forest tent caterpillar populations around Lake Koronis for the Koronis Lake Association, informed the Paynesville Township Board of Supervisors that he and his assistant, Harry Thielen, had identified 172 acres in Paynesville Township for spraying this year.

At a cost of $22 per acre, the total cost of spraying in Paynesville Township this year is $3,784. The township board approved a contribution of $3,000 toward the spraying at their meeting on Monday, June 10.

Each spring, McMillan searches the woods around the lake, looking for areas with concentrations of forest tent caterpillars that make spraying effective. "I thought we were okay (this year) because we were past the time when they normally hatch," McMillan told the board, "but the late spring fooled me cause now they've hatched."

The spray is a natural bacteria that is only harmful to the larvae of caterpillars, according to McMillan. It is approved by the Department of Natural Resources. It gets on the leaves of trees and kills the larvae when they eat enough of them.

Spraying needed to be done soon, said McMillan, or it would be useless, since the larvae would be done feeding. The spraying was done on Monday, June 17.

While spraying would not reduce the population of caterpillars this year, it should cut into their number next year. McMillan said KLA organized the spraying of 90 acres on Peterson Point last year, in Union Grove Township, and he could barely find a caterpillar on the point this year.

Spraying hasn't been done in Paynesville Township since 1997, when 100 acres were sprayed. The largest spraying was back in 1990, when 1,000 acres were sprayed.

Areas to be sprayed this year are: 27 acres on the north shore, from the junction of Co. Rd. 181 and Lake Koronis Road to the west; 92 acres near Alldon Heights and the Lake Koronis Assembly Grounds; and 53 acres on the south shore, including 42 acres in the Lake Koronis Regional Park, said McMillan.

Originally, KLA funded the spraying by door-to-door collections. "I know the hassle you have in going door to door," said board chairman Don Pietsch. "The guy who doesn't give gets the same benefit as the one who gives a good contribution."

"It's not an individual problem. It's a township problem," agreed supervisor Pat Meagher.

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