The Utah Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service will launch aerial bombing raids in Utah this summer.

Their target is the gypsy moth.The new chemical assault follows two years of spraying aimed at wiping out the gypsy moth along the Wasatch Front. Last year, 20,000 acres in Bountiful, Salt Lake and Provo were bombarded with bacillus thuringiensis, a pesticide that attacks the insect's digestive system.

Previous spraying forays have been successful, but the moth is being detected in other areas along the Wasatch Front.

The gypsy moth feeds on 200 species of trees and shrubs, according to Larry A. Sagers, horticulturist with Utah State University extension service. The moth was brought to the United States from Europe in 1869 by a naturalist who wanted to cross it with silkworms to produce silk.

The moth, first spotted in Utah in 1988, has a voracious appetite and no natural enemies.

The two agencies plan to spray nearly 30,000 acres this year in 14 areas of Davis, Summit, Salt Lake and Utah counties. More than half of the area to be sprayed is federal land.

Targeted areas include Mueller Park in Davis County; Burr Fork in Emigration Canyon; upper Olympus Cove and Mill Creek areas, Knudsens Corner and Top-of-the-World, between Big and Little Cottonwood canyons, along the suburban Salt Lake foothills; Prospector Hills; and Vivian Park and other areas in lower Provo Canyon.

Spraying is scheduled to begin in early May and will last until early June, depending on weather conditions and the moth's stage of development.


(Additional information)

2 public meetings on plans\ The Utah Agriculture Department and the U.S. Forest Service are hosting two public meetings this week about gypsy-moth spraying plans:

- Timpview High School, Provo, 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6.

- Bountiful City Hall, 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 7.