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Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture

USDA Conducts Asian Gypsy Moth Survey in Greater Charleston Area

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WASHINGTON, March 25, 2015—The U. S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is surveying for Asian gypsy moth (AGM) in Charleston and Berkeley County South Carolina.

Beginning in April, APHIS will set approximately 1,750 traps in a 100 square mile area encompassing North Charleston and some adjacent properties in southern Berkeley County. We will set most AGM traps on utility poles or in host trees on public property. However to conduct a full and complete survey, we will seek permission from private landowners to survey their property.

The AGM is a destructive, non-native pest that feeds on over 600 types of plants, most of which occur in the state. Female AGMs are strong flyers and can spread rapidly.  If left unchecked, this pest has the potential to cause severe damage to South Carolina’s native landscape and could cost millions of dollars to eradicate.

AGM traps pose no risk to people, pets or wildlife, and will remain in place throughout the summer. The tan trap is made of plastic-coated cardboard with openings on either end. AGMs are lured inside by a slow-release attractant (pheromone) and captured in the glue that coats the interior.

In 2014, APHIS detected a single male AGM during its port environs survey, prompting a more widespread and concentrated survey this year. We will continue to survey the area until we have three consecutive years with no AGM detections. If you see a trap on the ground, locate the hand-written identification number on the outside of the trap and call APHIS at 843-480-4334 to report it.

APHIS safeguards U.S. agriculture and natural resources against the entry, establishment, and spread of economically and environmentally significant pests, and facilitates the safe trade of agricultural products.

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