Clark County, Washington looking to get rid of gypsy moths in 2015

Dec 24, 2014

Infestation found in Yacolt, northeast of Vancouver

By Diego Flammini,

The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) proposed a motion to get rid of an infestation of European gypsy moths discovered in Yacolt, Washington, about 20 miles northeast of Vancouver, B.C.

If the proposal is approved, 220 acres of land would be treated in April and May 2015. WSDA’s most recent dealings with gypsy moths came last year when they were discovered in Tukwila, Washington.

Trappers last year found 16 gypsy moths in the Yacolt area and also discovered an egg mass capable of producing nearly 1,000 gypsy moth caterpillars.

They aren’t native to Washington, but if allowed to spread can damage trees and plants very badly.

“The evidence of a reproducing population of gypsy moth in Yacolt is of concern to me,” said Jim Marra, manager of WSDA’s Pest Program. “We also detected a spent egg mass and that means this small population has been brewing for more than a year. Now is the time to stop it from spreading.”

The WSDA’s method of eradicating the infestations consist of spreading Btk (Bacillus thuringiensis var.kurstaki), an insecticide found naturally in the environment, three to 14 days apart on the infected areas. There are no known human risks of exposure to Btk.

A community open house is being scheduled for some time in February to discuss the project publically.

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