Odenton tonight is preparing for an invasion that is at least five months away.
No, it's not an army of developers who plan to tear up the countryside, but rather an army of caterpillars who threaten to eat it up.
"We've had a lot of problems with gypsy moth caterpillars this past summer," said Pat Wellford, president of the Greater Odenton Improvement Association.
So the association invited Richard Olsen, the Anne Arundel County gypsy moth coordinator, to its meeting tonight in the Odenton Fire Hall. Nov. 30 is the deadline for residents to request spraying for next spring.
"It is strange to be thinking about bugs now," Wellford said, "but because the deadline is coming up, we have to get it done."
She said Olsen will explain the spraying process, how it works and how it will help the problem. "A lot of people don't know what to expect," she said. "We want to know what kind of problem the moths can cause and what sort of damage we can expect."
The leaf-eating pests devoured a record number of leaves this past summer, defoliating 133,000 acres of trees in the state. That was despite $2.5 million of aerial spraying over 188,000 acres.
Anne Arundel, along with three other counties, contracted with private spraying companies for additional coverage of nearly 80,000 acres.
Wellford said many residents already have sent in request forms to the county to be sprayed, but anyone who hasn't should come to the meeting. A minimum of 10 acre-blocks is the smallest the county can spray, so neighbors must get together, Wellford said.
She said she is worried about a low turnout because the meeting is so close to the Thanksgiving holiday.