Foundation Study Investigates Means to Avoid Caterpillar Contamination on Farms

The Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation announced today that it is funding a study to be undertaken by Prof. Daniel A. Potter, a renowned entomologist at the University of Kentucky, to facilitate the extermination of Eastern Tent Caterpillar

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The Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation announced today that it is funding a study to be undertaken by Prof. Daniel A. Potter, a renowned entomologist at the University of Kentucky, to facilitate the extermination of Eastern Tent Caterpillars on horse farms before they can harm horses next spring. The goal of the study is to provide the horse industry with the means to avoid this infestation before any caterpillars or materials produced by them can be ingested by mares.


The caterpillars have been identified with the outbreaks of Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome (MRLS) which have caused hundreds of both early and late fetal loss in mares in Kentucky and neighboring states in the last two springs.


Prof. Potter and his team will be testing various types of applications, both to egg masses of caterpillars and to cherry trees that harbor them. This effort will seek practical solutions that horsemen can pursue that are effective in killing the caterpillars, while safe to horses and other environmental elements. The schedule calls for results of these tests to be available prior to the stages in the caterpillars’ development that they are identified as threats to the health of horses.


“This study comes outside our normal grant cycle,” said Edward L. Bowen, president of Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, “but in this case we felt it is extremely important to do something to anticipate the return of the problem

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