Monday, May 22, 2017

Exotic moth trapping gets underway

Susan Brush
Pest Program

We are quickly approaching the time of year when insect pests begin to emerge from their cozy winter state to enjoy the beautiful summers here in the Pacific Northwest.

Our exotic moth surveillance team is gearing up to begin installation of traps specifically targeted to detect three moth species of great concern: the Siberian moth, Nun moth and the Rosy moth.

WSDA trapper hanging delta trap
Unlike the European and Asian Gypsy moth, Washington State has never detected any of these three moth species. But established populations in Asia and Russia have devastated large swaths of evergreen forests. Since we have vast evergreen forests here in the Pacific Northwest these pests could devastate our environment should they make an international voyage to Washington’s shores.

The main way these pests arrive is through commercial shipping from infested areas. In order to intercept any moths that may have hitched a ride, the exotics team will be monitoring for the presence of these species at all 11 marine freight ports in our state.

Each species of moth surveyed uses a different type of moth trap coupled with a species-specific female pheromone to lure reproductive males to the moth trap.

Traps start to appear in the port areas at the end of May. The traps will be monitored throughout the summer and will be removed at the end of September.

If you see a trap in your area, please don’t disturb it while it’s performing the important task of protecting the beautiful forests here in Washington State. If you see one on the ground, we would love for you to let us know. Please contact us at or call our hotline at 1–800-443-6684 if your find a trap on the ground or have any questions about the program.