Trapping for gypsy moths in Shoreline

Friday, June 19, 2020

Gypsy moth trap on tree in north Shoreline
Photo by Debbie Seger

The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) began its annual hunt for pests that threaten the state’s environment and agriculture industry on June 1.

Trappers are setting thousands of traps statewide to monitor for the introduction or spread of over 120 invasive pests and diseases, including gypsy moth, Asian giant hornet, apple maggot and Japanese beetle.

Gypsy Moth Detection Trap - please let me be
Photo by Debbie Seger

State law gives WSDA authority to trap for invasive pests on private property. In the past, trappers would nevertheless attempt to obtain permission from property owners before hanging traps. This year, due to COVID-19 concerns, WSDA has a “no knock” policy, and trappers will place traps without first contacting homeowners. This is to protect both the community and WSDA employees.

Traps in Shoreline have generally been placed on trees near the street.

Gypsy moth
Photo courtesy WSDA

The agency continues its decades-long survey for gypsy moths and trappers will place approximately 20,000 gypsy moth traps statewide this summer. This will include intensive trapping in areas in Snohomish County that were treated for gypsy moths in May to ensure the gypsy moths were eradicated in those areas. (see previous article)

This is the culprit that munches through forests
Photo courtesy WSDA

Gypsy moths pose a significant risk not only to agriculture in the state but also threaten Washington’s forests, parks and cityscapes. Gypsy moths cause extensive ecological damage by eating more than 500 kinds of trees and shrubs and have been known to defoliate entire forests.

There is a strongly scented attractant circle visible inside the box.
Photo by Debbie Seger

In 2018, for example, Massachusetts lost a quarter of all their hardwood trees in the state, including three of every four oak trees. Gypsy moths also reproduce rapidly, each female laying 1,000 eggs or more, meaning early detection and eradication is critical to controlling this invasive species.


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