Asian Gypsy Moth egg masses

Thanks to Fox News for this:

U.S. customs officials inspected a sea vessel from China recently and discovered an invasive species on board that could have inflicted widespread damage to the country’s landscape and natural resources.

Agriculture specialists with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) discovered four Asian gypsy moth (AGM) egg masses on a Panamanian bulk carrier in Laplace, Louisiana, in late September.

The vessel was targeted for inspection because it had docked at AGM high-risk areas in China the month prior.

Asian Gypsy Moth egg masses

The suspected AGM egg masses were found on the exterior surface of the vessel and railing on bother lower and main decks, CBP said. U.S. officials ordered the vessel to leave the port and anchor out of U.S. waters for cleaning and disinfection.

CBP sent the suspected AGM egg masses to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for further analysis, which positively identified the specimens to be AGM.

USDA forwarded the specimens to their Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Forest Pest Methods Laboratory (FPML) in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts for final analysis. On October 11, 2022, they positively identified the specimens via molecular testing as Lymantria dispar asiatica, which confirmed it to be AGM.

CBP conducted a follow-up inspection of the vessel several days after the initial discovery and found no additional AGM egg masses and allowed the vessel to proceed with its cargo operations, CBP said.

USDA says the AGM is an exotic pest not established in the United States. They are similar to European gypsy moths found in the northwest, but the Asian variety has a broader range, making them more dangerous.

Female moths can lay hundreds of eggs that yield hundreds of caterpillars that could feed on more than 500 plant species.

US CBP story

Leave a ReplyCancel reply