Leave Hungry Pests Behind (European Gypsy Moth)
Are you unknowingly harboring tiny hitch-hikers? One of the ways pests, diseases and harmful weeds spread is by hitching a ride with humans, pets and vehicles. An invasive pest is one that is introduced to areas that are not part of its natural range, where it may not have any natural enemies to keep its population in check. Invasive pests can wreak havoc on agricultural crops and natural areas like forests and watersheds, causing economic, environmental and even human health impacts.
Viewer Tip: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) declared April Invasives Awareness Month. There are several pests that are being monitored as “most damaging” in the United States, including the European gypsy moth, whose caterpillars gobble up more than 300 species of trees and shrubs, posing a threat to forests. The moth is currently found in 20 eastern states and is at risk of spreading to an additional 14 states across the country, including Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska and Utah. Since 1970, the gypsy moth has defoliated over 75 million acres of trees in the United States. What can you do to prevent the spread of the European gypsy moth and other invasive pests?
- Inspect. Look for egg masses on trees, lawn furniture, fences, walls or elsewhere on private property and report any findings to your state agricultural office or USDA.
- Move carefully. If you are moving from a gypsy moth quarantined area to a new area, make sure you leave hungry pests behind. Visit www.yourmovegypsymothfree.com to view quarantined areas and find tips on spotting gypsy moths to make sure you don’t take them with you.
- Clean up. No matter where you live, wash outdoor gear and tires before and after fishing, hunting or camping trips. Clean lawn furniture and other outdoor items when moving from one home to another.
Learn more about “most damaging” invasive pests and their impacts at www.hungrypests.com.
(Sources: USDA. “European Gypsy Moth,” www.hungrypests.com/the-threat/european-gypsy-moth.php; “What You Can Do,” www.hungrypests.com/what-you-can-do/)