The gypsy moth is one of the most destructive pests of trees and shrubs to ever be introduced into the United States. Gorging themselves on leaves, gypsy moth caterpillars defoliate, weaken, and can kill more than 300 different species of trees. Since 1970, gypsy moths have defoliated more than 75 million acres in the United States. To help prevent the further spread of this destructive pest, the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires homeowners to inspect and remove gypsy moth egg masses from household goods prior to moving from an infested to a non-infested area.
If you are moving from a location within the gypsy moth quarantine area to a location outside the quarantine area, you must inspect your outdoor household items for the gypsy moth and remove all life stages of this destructive insect before you move. You and your moving company may face penalties if you are required to inspect but fail to do so. Fortunately the inspection is easy to do, and you will protect your new neighborhood from this invasive pest that can attack 300 kinds of trees and shrubs.
Check the map to find out whether you live in a quarantine area. If you do, you will need to inspect your household goods for gypsy moth if you're moving outside the quarantine area.
Carefully inspect all of your outdoor household articles like patio furniture, children's toys, and lawn equipment for gypsy moth egg masses and other life stages (see photos below). Remove and destroy any egg masses or life stages you find. Use this checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Use the self-inspection checklist or hire a qualified certified pesticide applicator to inspect your outdoor household articles. If you are moving between April and August, you should complete the inspection on moving day, if possible. If you cannot complete the inspection on moving day, you must protect the items from the possibility of infestation by sealing them under a tarp or keeping them indoors or in a closed moving truck.
For self-inspection, follow these steps:
If a qualified certified applicator performs the inspection, be sure you get a copy of the completed, signed checklist.
Photo credits: (top row) egg mass on lawn mower tire, USDA photo by Susan Lane; egg masses on the underside of a picnic table, U.S. Forest Service; egg mass on outdoor furniture, Amy Stone, Ohio State University; pupae, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bugwood.org; (bottom row) larvae, USDA photo; adult gypsy moth, John Ghent, Bugwood.org; adult female gypsy moth laying eggs, ihorhvozdetskiy, Stock.adobe.com; adult male gypsy moth, ihorhvozdetskiy, Stock.adobe.com.
Complete and sign a copy of the self-inspection checklist or complete this online form to self-certify that your outdoor household items are free of gypsy moth. Keep a copy of your certificate in the moving van in case it is requested by a USDA or State official at any point during your trip.
Need help? Contact your State department of agriculture or nearest USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) office.