As National Moving Month, May marks the height of the moving season. It also marks a time of great peril for America’s forests. Gypsy moths normally get their best chance to spread across the country in May as they hitchhike with people moving or traveling from an infested area to a noninfested area. This year should be different, however, thanks to an outreach campaign called “Your Move Gypsy Moth-Free” that USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) recently launched.
The stakes are high: Gypsy moth caterpillars can defoliate, weaken, and kill more than 300 different types of trees and shrubs. Since 1970, this dangerous forest pest has defoliated 75 million acres in the United States. If left unchecked, an infestation can defoliate up to 13 million acres of trees in one season. New infestations are typically caused by gypsy moth egg masses that people transport accidentally when moving or traveling from an infested area to a noninfested area. That’s why APHIS requires these individuals to inspect for and remove gypsy moth egg masses from outdoor household items—before they move.
People planning a move can learn all about they need to know at the campaign’s Web site, YourMoveGypsyMothFree.com. They can download a brochure there that has pictures of all the gypsy moth life stages and instructions on how to remove the egg masses to ensure a move that’s gypsy moth-free.
Fortunately, it’s easy to stop the spread of gypsy moth. Just inspect your vehicles and all outdoor household goods for egg masses and remove them. Female gypsy moths lay their egg masses on just about any outdoor surface: vehicles, yard tools, playground equipment, outdoor toys, grills, lawn furniture, camping gear, and the like. Remove the egg masses with a putty knife or a stiff brush and dispose of them in a container of hot, soapy water, or placed them in a plastic bag, seal it, and set it in the sun.
The brochure has a checklist to make this as simple as possible. Check off each item as you go through the checklist and then sign it. You can also hire a state-licensed pesticide applicator to do the inspection for you. The signed checklist becomes your official inspection certificate for the move.
Federal law requires that people moving from a moth-infested area to a noninfested area carry this certificate during the move. Keep a copy of the completed checklist in the moving van in case it is requested by a State or Federal official at any point during your trip. This completed checklist will satisfy the requirements of all noninfested States. It will also relieve you of liability should your items be re-inspected by a State official in the destination State—and be found to harbor gypsy moth.
The whole story is at YourMoveGypsyMothFree.com. Watch the campaign video below.