State launches summertime gypsy moth trapping program

July 10, 2012

By Staff

State trappers started placing gypsy moth traps in trees, shrubs and other foliage to protect Evergreen State vegetation from the destructive pest.

The state Department of Agriculture hired 25 trappers to place 18,000 traps in residential neighborhoods, business districts, ports and rural areas statewide. Crews plan to check the traps every few weeks through October.

The nontoxic traps contain a sex pheromone to attract male moths. Inside the trap is a sticky coating to trap the moth. The device helps entomologists determine whether a gypsy moth population is developing.

“Trapping this season will detect any populations of gypsy moth that WSDA may propose to eradicate next year,” John Townsend, state trapping coordinator for the Department of Agriculture, said in a statement.

Officials have detected gypsy moths in Washington every year since 1977, but permanent populations have not been established due to the aggressive summer trapping and spring eradication efforts.

The gypsy moth is among the worst forest pests ever brought into the United States. In the species’ caterpillar form, the pest attacks more than 500 species of trees and plants.

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