A type of destructive gypsy moth never before detected in the U.S. was trapped in Snohomish County in Western Washington, state Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Karla Salp said Friday
The Hokkaido gypsy moth has the same flying capabilities and wide-ranging appetite as an Asian gypsy moth. The department will consider spaying the area where the moth was trapped to prevent the pest from establishing itself, Salp said.
The department in the past has sprayed areas after detecting a single Asian gypsy moth. European gypsy moths are more common and less dangerous.
Gypsy moths from Asia eat leaves on more types of trees and plants. The females fly, while European gypsy moth females are flightless.
The Hokkaido moth was found in a trap July 25 in Woodway in southwest Snohomish County, close to Puget Sound. The species was confirmed by a USDA laboratory in Massachusetts.
It's unknown how the Asian native moth got to the U.S., but it likely came from a ship, Salp said.
The agriculture department sprayed about 700 acres last spring around Martha Lake, also in Snohomish County, after trapping one Asian gypsy moth.
The department also sprays areas where a high number of European gypsy moths are trapped.
The department traps moths in the summer and sprays in the spring as caterpillars emerge to feed on leaves.
So far this summer, relatively few gypsy moths have been caught in Washington.
The department trapped two European gypsy moths in Goldendale. It trapped single European gypsy moths in La Center and Lynden. The type of two gypsy moths trapped in Tacoma and Ridgefield have not been determined.
The department trapped 52 gypsy moths last summer. Western states have successfully kept the invasive species from spreading from the East and Midwest, where they are established.