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Washington Pest Management News: The Hunt for Gypsy Moths

gypsy moth caterpillarIn 2014, Eden reported about the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s annual campaign to trap and monitor the invasive gypsy moth. The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) does the same every year by placing around 16,000 cardboard traps in rural areas, residential neighborhoods and business districts. By knowing how gypsy moths look and about their behaviors, you can take steps to control and prevent infestations.

Washington Pest Management Techniques: Monitoring Gypsy Moth Populations

The traps that the WSDA hangs in July are green and tent-shaped. They contain the scent of female moths to lure and trap male moths. WSDA workers inspect the traps every two to three weeks to calculate the moth population in each area. The workers remove the traps in September.

Washington pest control companies state that gypsy moths most likely spread throughout the state and other parts of the country when people travel or move. In addition to European gypsy moths, the WSDA has found Asian gypsy moths, which are more destructive because they can travel further.

Gypsy Moths in Washington

Gypsy moths are most destructive when they’re caterpillars. The bugs attack about 500 species of plants and trees, stripping them of their leaves or needles. Sometimes, the damage is so extreme that it degrades wildlife habitats, affects the quality of water and makes affected plants vulnerable to diseases.

Unlike the western tent moth caterpillars, Gypsy moth caterpillars do not make web-like tents. The caterpillars are grayish in color with six pairs of red dots and five pairs of blue does along their back.

Adult western tent moths and gypsy moths look similar, as females are cream-colored and males are brown. Gypsy moths, however, have dark brown markings on their wings. Males have a wingspan of up to 1.5 inches, while females have 2-inch wingspans.

If you see a gypsy moth or caterpillar, trap it and contact a Washington pest control company, like Eden, to identify it. After an outing or when you move to a new home, inspect all your belongings to prevent the spread of gypsy moths. To learn more or schedule a complimentary inspection, contact Eden today.

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