WASHINGTON — May is National Moving Month, and if you are one of the estimated 40 million people who move in a given year, there is one more critical thing you can do before closing the moving-van door.
Don’t make a move until you check for the gypsy moth. The federal government is joining with the moving industry to urge 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 since it was introduced in the late 1860s. Without the public’s help, it 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 noninfested area,” said 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: 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.
USDA requires anyone moving from an area infested with the gypsy moth to a noninfested area to provide an official certificate of inspection of all common outdoor household articles that could carry the gypsy moth. In order to meet this requirement, one can perform a self-inspection of household goods or hire a state-certified pesticide applicator. The checklist and additional information can be found at YourMoveGypsyMothFree.com.
“The driver of the moving van is required to have this certificate on hand for the entire journey,” said David Hauenstein, vice president of compliance services and government affairs for the American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA). “This is a small inconvenience to prevent further destruction of this country’s majestic landscape.”