Gypsy moth, a non-native invasive species introduced into Massachusetts 135 years ago, has spread southwest and now is established in about one third of the potentially susceptible habitat in the United States. Defoliation caused by gypsy moth caterpillars may cause tree mortality, affect human health and be a nuisance. When gypsy moths first move into an area, there are significant impacts for the first 10-20 years. In areas that have had gypsy moth for many years, such as the Northeast, forests have recovered. The USDA national gypsy moth program has three strategies: Eradication, slow-the spread and suppression. The program will refocus in 2007 to accrue cost savings which will be used for other higher priority pests such as Sirex noctilio, emerald ash borer and other invasive species.
- Eradication continues to be the focus of the national gypsy moth management strategy. This vigilance and quick action has kept gypsy moth out of the western US.
- In FY 2007, Slow-the-spread will be reoriented to focus on the highest priority area, while fully implementing the program. Gypsy moth spread has been reduced by 50% along a 1,000 mile front from North Carolina to Wisconsin.
- In FY 2007, suppression efforts in the area that has had gypsy moth for many years will be reduced to focus on other higher priority pests and areas that have recently become infested with gypsy moth.