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USDA Seeks Your Help to Stop Gypsy Moths

Did you know May is National Moving Month? If you are one of the estimated 40 million people, who move in a given year or if you work for a moving company that rentscommercial Penske trucks or leases their trucks from us to move others – there is one critical thing to do before you move – check for the gypsy moth! It’s pretty easy, too.


The federal government is urging those planning to relocate to help stop the spread of this invasive culprit that threatens our nation's landscape. The European gypsy moth has dramatically changed the landscape in 19 states and Washington, D.C. since it was introduced in the late 1860s.

Without the public's help, the gypsy moth threatens many more states. Since 1970, 75 million acres in the United States have been defoliated by the gypsy moth. An infestation of gypsy moth can defoliate up to 13 million acres of trees in one season if left untreated.

"To those planning a move, don't give this invasive pest a free ride to a non-infested area," says Scott Pfister, director of forest pests for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "The results could spell disaster for the trees and shrubs of your new community."

A few simple tips from the experts at USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service:

  • Inspect outdoor household goods — lawn furniture, grills, outdoor toys, camping equipment, etc. for gypsy moth egg masses. Female moths lay their eggs and the caterpillars spread during the spring and summer months.
  • The removal of the egg masses from their locations can be performed easily with a putty knife, stiff brush or similar hand tool. Simply dispose of the egg masses in a container of hot, soapy water, or place them in a plastic bag, seal it and set it in the sun.
  • Visit http://www.yourmovegypsymothfree.com/ for more tips and information.

Moving companies that use either Penske’s commercial rental trucks or lease trucks to move others should know the USDA requires anyone moving from an area infested with the gypsy moth to a non-infested area to provide an official certificate of inspection of all common outdoor household articles that could carry the gypsy moth. To meet this requirement, one can perform a self-inspection of household goods or hire a state-certified pesticide applicator. The official USDA checklist and additional information can be found at http://www.yourmovegypsymothfree.com/.

This information was supplied to Penske by The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

By Move Ahead Staff