NOBLE COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – Residents in areas of Noble County could see a yellow airplane flying low over treetops Thursday morning as the Indiana Department of Natural Resources spray for spongy moth.

Gypsy Moth
FILE – In this July 28, 2008, file photo, a female spongy moth lays her eggs on the trunk of a tree in the Salmon River State Forest in Hebron, Conn. (AP Photo/Bob Child, File)

The spongy moth – which used to be known as the gypsy moth before scientist changed the name due to its derogatory nature – is one of North America’s most devastating invasive forest pests and has caused thousands of acres of defoliation across the eastern United States, according to an Indiana DNR media release.

Selected areas of Marshall, Noble and LaPorte counties will be targeted just after sunrise Thursday morning for treatment.

The treatment will entail a plane flying about 75 to 125 feet above treetops distributing a spray containing Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki – “Btk” for short – onto the trees. This is a bacteria that will kill the moths’ caterpillars, the DNR said.

The bacteria has been used for decades by gardeners and does not adversely affect people or animals, according to the DNR. People who live or work near the treatment areas, however, might want to stay inside for about 30 minutes when the planes are flying.

If weather does not allow for the treatment Thursday, officials plan to distribute the bacteria Friday.

Officials encourage property owners to go to gypsymoth.in.gov to determine if their property is in the treatment area.

For more information on Btk, people can call 1-866-NO-EXOTIC, the DNR said.