CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WBOY) — Nearly 10,000 acres of land in West Virginia could be treated in an effort to slow the spread of the spongy moth, which was formerly known as the gypsy moth.

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) proposed the treatment of the land with Specialized Pheromone and Lure Technology (SPLAT). The WVDA said SPLAT uses the pheromone of the female spongy moth to overstimulate the male spongy moths and make it harder for them to find females, disrupting the species’ mating cycle. The WVDA said the treatment does not impact other insects, mammals or the surrounding environment.

The WVDA said it wants to treat 5,879 acres in the area of Wirt and Roane counties between Peewee on Garfield Road and Lucille on Rt. 14, 3,800 acres located east of the town of Palestine and a third treatment area 3.5 miles south of Gilbert, centering on Longpole Creek in the areas of Mingo and McDowell counties.

In total, 9,679 acres would be treated under the WVDA’s proposal.

The spongy moth is an invasive species that can lead to widespread defoliation when the insects feed in large numbers.

There will be public scoping meetings held in Wirt County on Nov. 14 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Elizabeth Fire Department and on Dec. 6 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Iaeger town hall.