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. Read more »