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Division of Forestry Seeks Partners to Prevent Tree Pest Damage

Wednesday, January 12, 2022 | 02:06pm
Delta Trap for Gypsy Moth

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Division of Forestry is scaling up efforts to prevent damage by the gypsy moth. Starting Jan. 12, 2022, the Division will accept bids to trap the tree pest in Johnson, Carter, Sullivan, Washington, and Unicoi Counties.

“Our goal is to keep the gypsy moth out of Tennessee,” State Forester David Arnold said. “We do that by placing traps to monitor high-risk areas. The destructive pest can feed on many tree species and can easily defoliate trees across acres of forest. Once trees are weakened, it leaves them vulnerable to diseases and other pests that can eventually kill them.”

To slow gypsy moth’s range and prevent defoliation in new areas, Tennessee participates in the United States Department of Agriculture’s Slow the Spread program. The aim of the program is to actively monitor and eradicate populations before they establish. Gypsy moth has not been established in Tennessee. However, trapping will take place in the five counties on the advancing edge of the pest’s range. If high numbers of gypsy moths are captured, other monitoring or treatment strategies may be used to locate established populations and eradicate them.

There are measures landowners can take to prevent the invasive tree pest. The Division of Forestry recommends keeping trees healthy by watering, fertilizing, and pruning. Reduce the number of places where moths can hide egg masses in yards and on recreational vehicles. Or plant tree species that gypsy moth caterpillars don’t like to eat such as maples, sycamore, and poplar.

Contractors who wish to submit a bid for placement, inspection, and removal of gypsy moth traps may do so for each county individually. For information, complete the form found at forms.office.com/g/mHiaMnULeY. Bids will be accepted via email only until 4 p.m. CDT on Jan. 31, 2022. Contact Gypsy Moth Coordinator Hannah Hollowell at 615-837-5439 or Hannah.Hollowell@tn.gov with any questions. Visit www.slowthespread.org/ for more on the Slow the Spread initiative.

Photo courtesy of USDA APHIS