State officials keeping their eyes on the borders this summer to try and keep out gypsies. That’s gypsy moths — which lay eggs the turn into caterpillars that can quickly strip all the leaves off a tree. Iowa Department of Natural Resources forester Jon Walkowiak says the pests have been causing trouble in other states.
Walkowiak says the closest the gypsy moths have come to the state is in Madison, Wisconsin and parts of northern Illinois and into Indiana. So far they have not become established in Iowa. The caterpillars eat the leaves of oaks, apples, basswood, poplars, willows and more than 500 different species of trees and shrubs during the growing season.
Right now there’s big infestation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Walkoviak says if you’re in a state where the moths are found, you shouldn’t bring back any firewood, or wood products that might bring the pests to Iowa. Walkoviak says Iowa has gone to great lengths to keep a watch out for the gypsy moth .
He says there are now over 5,000 gypsy moth traps spread around the state, especially on the borders, where the moth could come in naturally. Walkoviak says the traps are baited with the female moth’s pheromones to draw in the male moth. Once one is found, he says they’ll take action to keep it from spreading.
Walkoviak says they have all the traps globally positioned so they can zero in on where the infestation has been found, so they can eradicate them before they spread. Walkoviak says there have been occasional small outbreaks of the moth in the past in Iowa, but so far there’s not been any found recently.