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Gypsy moth summer trapping under way

Those triangular green cardboard boxes showing up around the county, including two Sequim locations, mean the state's annual gypsy moth trapping program has begun.

Through mid-July, trappers from the state Department of Agriculture will place almost 24,000 small cardboard traps in residential neighborhoods and business districts, near ports and in rural areas.

The traps will be checked every two to three weeks during the summer before being taken down in September.

"We never have had a permanent population of gypsy moths in Washington," said John Lundberg, spokesman for Agriculture's pest program.

"It's a devastating and permanent fact of life for people in other states. It is not a pest you want in your backyard," he said.

Lundberg 900 of the 24,000 traps were placed in Clallam County, the eighth most of the state's 39 counties.

Trapper Donna Hendricks said the two trap locations west of Sequim were chosen because people often visit them with recreational vehicles that might carry the pest.

Mark Church, trapping coordinator for Clallam and Jefferson counties, said, "If any moths are out there, we will find them. Our summer moth catches will largely determine if eradication treatments occur in 2010."

Single moths were trapped in Sequim in 2007 and 2008, the only such discoveries in Clallam County.

But if any insecticide spraying or other gypsy moth eradication efforts had been planned, that would have been announced in late December or early January, Lundberg said.

"Multiple catches in two years are required to trigger a treatment. Normally, one catch would not cause a treatment," he said.

Washington's 35-year old gypsy moth control program has been very successful. Washington has never had a permanent population of gypsy moths unlike 19 states in the East and Midwest, where thousands of acres are permanently infested.

The state's last eradication treatment project took place in 2007 in Kent.



Reach Brian Gawley at bgawley@sequimgazette.com.

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