Asian Gypsy Moth
Although Asian gypsy moths are not established in Oregon, they were detected in the summer 2015 in Forest Park, North Portland and in Washington state. The Asian gypsy moth is an exotic pest and a closely related species to the European gypsy moth. The European gypsy moth is well known for defoliating (eating leaves off of trees) an average of 700,000 acres per year, and as much as 12.9 million acres of forest in the eastern United States in a single year. In the last 30 years, Asian gypsy moth has been detected in Oregon three times and successfully eradicated each time. The national policy is to eradicate Asian gypsy moth if detected, because of its ability to quickly defoliate large tracts of forest. The moths that were detected in Portland were likely from cargo or vessels originating from Asia in 2014.
Since the Asian gypsy moth was just detected in the summer of 2015, we have a unique and small window of opportunity to ensure the population does not become established in Oregon. If we are able to terminate any early infestations of gypsy moth caterpillars that hatch this coming spring, then we can avoid the species establishing a population in our forest.
From Asian Gypsy Moth: Threat and Opportunity in Oregon, by the Oregon Invasive Species Council and Oregon Department of Agriculture
Photo Credits: ©Entomart; Daniel Herms, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org; USDA-APHIS PPQ; John H. Ghent, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
To help respond to the AGM situation, the Oregon Forest Pest Detector program organized several AGM monitoring workshops in spring 2016 for community members and OFPD program graduates. Over 50 participants learned the current situation of AGM in the Portland-Metro area and how to help by surveying for AGM egg masses. The workshops took place at St Johns Community Center on February 26th and 27th, and March 4th. The online module below was a prerequisite for the workshop, but is also open and available to anyone interested in learning more about AGM. You can also access the AGM presentation from the workshop to learn more about the AGM management plan, egg mass identification, and visual survey.
We challenged particpants of the AGM workshops to survey an area around Portland for gypsy moth egg masses, either around their home or a park/natural area where they work, and to report their results to us. The map below shows the areas that were surveyed, each marked with a red balloon symbol (all are negative for gypsy moth egg masses):