Less poison on highway 3 this year

Less poison on highway 3 this year

Actually they look quite cute, the small, fluffy caterpillars of the oak processionary moth – but their hairs can cause severe rashes with itching in humans when they come into contact with the skin. Therefore, the nests of the animals are removed for years, among other things with the poison diflubenzuron. This biocide is also said to be harmful to humans, according to the german nature and biodiversity conservation union (BN).

For the past two years, the organization has also been campaigning in the hochstadt area to dispense with the coarse spraying of the poison "with success", according to richard mergner, state representative of the BN, at a press conference on tuesday.

A safe picnic
For the presentation of the results of this commitment, the BN had come up with something special: at a highway parking lot on the A 3, they met for a picnic under oaks that had been sprayed with diflubenzuron for years. "Now, however, you can take a rest here again without danger", says tom konopka, regional officer of the BN.

Mergner chalks up the fact that less diflubenzuron is to be used this year as a success for the BN and sees it as the fault of the autobahn directorate of northern bavaria. "It has taken us two years of hard work. We can say that we have been left in the lurch by the authorities", says mergner. But now there is an understanding at the appropriate places.

For mergner and konopka, the problems lie mainly here, near the highway: "although no figures were available on how many people were affected, coarse spraying was carried out along about 500 kilometers of the highway", says konopka. "And that's without having to close the area or warn motorists beforehand." In fact, an area treated with diflubenzuron should not be entered for 24 hours and only in a protective suit for another 24 hours.

All accusations were rejected
Marion kneibl, press spokeswoman for the northern bavaria highway authority, rejects the accusations. There can be no talk of an admission of guilt. "The BN had reported us and a court has examined the charges. They were all rejected as not valid." Kneibl also does not accept the accusation that the affected areas have not been closed off. The areas were always marked off with flutter tape so that no motorists could get there. "We did everything right", says kneibl.

"This year, we already took a look at the affected areas before easter and found out that the development is backwards." Five rest stops are still being tested, according to kneibl. Whether and in which mab is sprayed, depends on how strong the infestation with caterpillars is.

"With less infestation expected this year, we will probably have to inject less", kneibl explains. But this was no merit of the BN. So far, only the less harmful toxin "neem protect" has been used at gas stations and rest areas came to use. The mechanical removal of the nests alone, as demanded by the bund naturschutz, is not possible. "You have to imagine it like this: we had to send people to pick up the animals one by one."

Reduced the prescribed quantity
Peter probstle, head of the lower forestry authority, sees the use of diflubenzuron as less problematic. "It's relatively selective and only hits the caterpillars that are feeding in the canopy of the trees", he explains. Diflubenzuron was also used to combat the caterpillars of the oak processionary moth at the office for food, agriculture and forestry. However, according to probstle, the prescribed quantity for use in the forest has been reduced to one sixth.

This year, says probstle, conditions for the caterpillars of the oak processionary moth are rather unfavorable. "A significant setback is to be expected." That is why we want to dispense with spraying altogether. Despite the differences of opinion, cooperation with the BN is good, probstle emphasizes. "We have always discussed the affected areas with the BN before spraying."

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