Gypsy moth trapping under way in Bellevue, elsewhere
July 20, 2010 · 11:26 AM
The annual gypsy moth summer trapping program is under way. By the end of July more than 22,000 small cardboard traps will be placed around the state, checked every two to three weeks during the summer, and taken down in September. Traps will be placed in all 39 counties.
Four thousand traps will be placed in King County, highest of any county in the state. Areas in Bellevue that will be intensively trapped because of past gypsy moth activity are near the intersection of Lakemont Blvd. SE and Village Park Drive and near the intersection of SE 160th Ave. SE and SE 63rd St.
The gypsy moth attacks more than 500 species of trees and plants. In its caterpillar form the pest quickly strips trees and plants of leaves, destroying some and weakening others so they are susceptible to plant diseases. The caterpillar also destroys wildlife habitat, degrades water quality and triggers costly quarantines of timber, agriculture, and nursery products.
Washington has never had a permanent population of the gypsy moth, the worst forest pest ever brought into the U.S. Nineteen states in the East and Midwest are not so fortunate. Thousands of acres in those states are permanently infested.
Washington’s last eradication treatment project took place in 2007 in Kent.
Tracy Shirek, trapping coordinator for King County, is looking forward to the coming trapping season.
“We’ve kept this pest out of the state for 36 years,” she said. “We want that record to continue.”
The number of gypsy moths caught annually in Washington varies widely. The largest number caught was 1,315 in 1983, and the smallest number in the last 30 years was 17 in 2002. Last year 18 moths were caught.
For more information on Washington’s gypsy moth control program, call the gypsy moth hotline at 800-443-6684 or visit the agency’s website at http://www.agr.wa.gov/PlantsInsects/InsectPests/GypsyMoth.