State agriculture officials are taking action to prevent the further spread of the gypsy moth. State entomologist John Haanstad says the highly destructive insect lays its eggs in everything from bedding plants to R-V campers. He says people and nursery stock moving into the state can bring the moth across Iowa’s borders.Haanstad says a Polk County plant nursery will be treated with chemicals today for the second time in two weeks after signs of the moth were found. Haanstad says the moth’s eggs are very distinctive but you have to be looking for them. He says the egg masses are the size of a silver dollar, salmon colored and furry.The moths usually don’t become moths until later in the year. Right now, they’re in caterpillar form and are busy mating to produce even more moths for next year. They usually start building cocoons in mid-July. Haanstad says the landlubber version of the creature is also readily identified.The caterpillars are about two inches long, hairy and have blue and red spots. The moths feed on the foliage of hundreds of species of plants but particularly like aspen and oak trees.
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