FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, MARCH 30, 2012
Matt Andresen, gypsy moth program manager
NCDA&CS Plant Industry Division
NCDA&CS to begin placing gypsy moth traps
RALEIGH -- The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will soon begin its annual survey for the non-native, highly destructive gypsy moth. Starting in early April, orange triangular traps and green milk carton-shaped traps will be placed on both public and private lands throughout North Carolina to monitor for the presence of the gypsy moth.
Baited with female gypsy moth sex pheromone, the traps are attractive to any nearby male gypsy moths. After moth flight is complete in mid-summer, traps will be removed and any male gypsy moths counted. The nearly 12,000 traps will give state agricultural officials an accurate location of any gypsy moth populations in North Carolina, which will be important in determining future control efforts.
“It is crucial that members of the public not disturb gypsy moth traps,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Contact information will be included on the bottom of each trap, and the public is welcome to check in with my staff for additional program information.”
The gypsy moth feeds on the leaves of hundreds of plant species, predominantly hardwood trees. In heavily infested areas, trees may be completely stripped of foliage, leaving entire forests more susceptible to attacks from other pests.
The gypsy moth can also be a nuisance to the general public. Caterpillars may migrate in search of food, sometimes entering houses and ending up in swimming pools. Some people can have allergic reactions to the caterpillars’ tiny hairs.
While two North Carolina counties -- Currituck and Dare -- are partially or completely quarantined, the gypsy moth is not established in the majority of the state. Gypsy moths are spread accidentally by humans, often hitchhiking long distances on anything from car tires to Christmas trees. An inadvertent introduction of gypsy moth could occur anywhere in North Carolina, and the pest could become more established without surveying activities. For more information on gypsy moths, visit www.ncagr.gov/gypsymoth.
NCDA&CS has addressed new introductions of the gypsy moth across North Carolina since the 1970s. The department is working with nine other states through the Gypsy Moth Slow the Spread Foundation Inc. and with other state and federal agencies to reduce the expansion of the gypsy moth into areas of the state that are not infested.