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Asian vs. European Gypsy Moth

Asian vs. European Gypsy Moth

Comparing Gypsy Moth Pests: Asian Gypsy Moths and European Gypsy Moths


Although the subject of this Web site is European gypsy moth (EGM), there is an Asian version of gypsy moth that is not yet established in the United States but could do great harm to our forests if it does settle here. The Asian gypsy moth (AGM) is similar in appearance and habit to the European gypsy moth found in the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada. Like European gypsy moth, the Asian gypsy moth prefers forest habitats and can cause serious defoliation and deterioration of trees and shrubs. However, the Asian gypsy moth has a much broader host range, including larch, oak, poplar, alder, willow, and some evergreens. In the eastern part of the United States, European gypsy moths defoliates an average of 4 million acres each year, causing millions of dollars’ worth of damage. If the Asian gypsy moth were to become established in the United States, the damage would be more extensive and expensive.


Unlike the flightless female European gypsy moth, female Asian gypsy moth are active fliers. The ability of female Asian gypsy moth to fly long distances (up to 20 miles) makes it likely that the Asian gypsy moth could rapidly spread throughout North America. This is not like the European gypsy moth which took almost 100 years to reach Indiana from its original release site in Massachusetts.


Asian gypsy moth has not yet established in North America, but it has been found and eradicated in California, Oregon, Idaho, Texas and Washington states. Since all the major Asian ports report large numbers of Asian gypsy moth, it is critical that North America conducts a detection program and has plans of action in place if any Asian gypsy moth are found. Surveying key United States shipping ports, distribution centers and industrial parks, enhances early detection and rapid response to avoid Asian gypsy moth from becoming established.

Visit the USDA-APHIS/PPQ Web site for more information on Asian gypsy moth.

 

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