Monday, July 25, 2016

Hunting gypsy moth on a military base

Tiffany Pahs
Gypsy Moth Survey Coordinator

Don’t go behind this sign without prior authorization.

The Asian gypsy moths caught in the Lacey and Nisqually areas in 2015 created some challenges for the gypsy moth trapping program this season. There are large areas of the high intensity trapping grid being used this season that fall in areas that are not easily accessible. One of those areas is Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

We have trapped on base before, but the grid for trap placements developed this season has taken us into new territory that requires careful planning to keep our trappers safe. In order for our trappers to get into these areas without being hurt or arrested, the supervisors in this area, Tracy Shirek, Kirstin Johnson and Don Kitchen, are pre-arranging access and sometimes escorts into the military training areas.
A Prius won't cut it on these roads.

I had the opportunity to ride along with Kirstin and trapper Alicia Johnson (no relation) one day while they placed traps on JBLM. Within the first 2 minutes of entering military property, we were greeted by the military police wondering what we were doing. Thankfully, Kirstin had prearranged our visit and the right people knew that we were authorized to be there. We were able to move on our way to place the first trap.

It was an interesting morning of navigating narrow gravel and dirt roads, following the grids on (the mapping app all trappers have on their phones), as well as making sure we didn’t cross into JBLM areas for which we did not have prior authorization. It was a productive morning of Alicia hanging the traps, and Kirstin navigating the roads while I played the back seat driver role handing Alicia her pre-made traps at each stop. Great day in the field with great team work!