The spongy moth is considered an invasive forest pest and agriculture leaders proposed using pheromones to disrupt their mating practices, halting population growth.
JOHNSON COUNTY, Tenn. — Communities in Johnson County may have seen white wings fluttering around their lights and around trees. Soon, there may be fewer moths flying around.
Many of those moths may have been “spongy moths,” a kind of invasive moth that agricultural leaders said is invasive. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service proposed an “aerial application of spongy moth mating pheromone in Johnson County this spring” to control their population.
According to a release from the TDA, spongy moth populations have surged in East Tennessee. Other forestry leaders said that the moth’s caterpillars can be particularly voracious, eating the leaves of trees and shrubs and high rates. The caterpillars can defoliate trees, leaving them vulnerable to diseases and other pests that can kill the tree.
Over time, tree populations …