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Sterilized Eggs Newest Weapon in Moth Wars

April 3, 1986

BROOMALL, Pa. (AP) _ Gypsy moth eggs that produce sterile males will be dropped in seven states this year by scientists trying to halt the spread of the leaf-devouring insects.

The method, called ″induced inherited sterility,″ was tested in Maryland, Vermont, Washington and Ohio last year, according to the Northeastern Forest Experiment Station of the U.S. Forest Service.

″Because of the success of last year’s tests, large-scale aerial application of the partially sterile eggs will be conducted in Vermont and West Virginia,″ the station said in a statement this week.

Smaller applications will be aimed at wiping out isolated moth populations in Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Washington and Oregon.

The program started last week when eggs were released in one small area of Maryland, said Forest Service spokeswoman Diane Whetstone.

In the new method, scientists breed partially sterilized male gypsy moths with females. The resulting eggs are released in infested areas, hatch, and the adults that grow from them are normal, but sterile. When wild gypsy moths mate with them, the eggs will not hatch.

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