Gypsy Moth Surveys Underway

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

Provided by Prince William County

Starting in late summer, the Prince William County Mosquito and Forest Pest Management Branch (MFPM) conducts annual surveys at over a thousand sites throughout the County to assess the population of gypsy moths in local forests. The European gypsy moth, first introduced to the U.S. in the 1860s and long established in the County, is an invasive insect that has had devastating effects on forest ecosystems and continues to defoliate around 700,000 acres of forest in the U.S. every year.

Caterpillars prefer oak trees (though they will feed on many types of trees) and will strip entire forests bare of leaves if their populations get out of control. MFPM specialists survey 1/40th acre plots for the presence of small, fuzzy, tan-colored gypsy moth egg masses, which can be laid on tree bark, park benches, sheds, rocks and many other surfaces.
County residents can help with the effort to contain gypsy moth populations in several ways. Firewood should always be sourced where it will be burned to prevent gypsy moths (and many other potentially destructive invasive forest pests) from hitching a ride to new areas. If moving a household, carefully and thoroughly check outdoor belongings for gypsy moth egg masses before relocating. Finally, if an infestation is suspected or a request to survey property is received, call the MFPM Office at (703) 792-6279, or email to schedule an inspection or grant MFPM specialists permission to survey.

Comments are closed.