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GYPSY MOTH TEST RESULTS FLOOD WSDA -- ALL EUROPEAN

 GYPSY MOTH TEST RESULTS FLOOD WSDA -- ALL EUROPEAN
 OLYMPIA, Wash., Sept. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Most of the gypsy moths caught in Washington this summer have been identified as the European strain, the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) announced today.
 That is the latest report of initial genetic test results received by the WSDA from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) laboratory in Massachusetts. Genetic testing is being done to determine whether gypsy moths caught in Washington and other high-risk areas are the European strain or the Asian strain. Both strains are serious pests of trees and shrubs. The Asian gypsy moth is considered a more significant threat because of the greater potential for an infestation to spread beyond the point of introduction. It was first detected in North America last year in the Pacific Northwest.
 These latest European strain identifications, together with those announced July 31, include 247 catches from 14 areas of the state. The locations include Orchards, Golden Gardens, Green Lake, Issaquah, Newport Shores, Port Orchard, Centralia, Anderson Island, Steilacoom, Sumner, Tacoma, Marysville, Tumwater, and Olympia.
 It is no surprise that the most recent test results also proved to be the European strain. WSDA has caught European gypsy moths introduced from infested areas in the eastern United States every year since 1977. Last year there were 215 gypsy moth detections in 33 areas in the state. So far this summer, 453 gypsy moths have been caught in 43 areas, primarily in the Puget Sound region. The higher number of catches this year is largely due to a WSDA trapping program which has placed nearly 11 times as many traps as last year. The increased trapping was prompted by the detections of Asian gypsy moths at eight sites in the state last year. Those detections resulted in a major eradication program in north Pierce and south King counties this spring.
 There has been only one catch this summer within the aerial spray program area. That catch was made in mid-August near the Auburn airport, approximately two miles inside the spray project boundaries.
 "It probably was carried in on something as a pupa, or a moth caught a ride into the area," said Eric LaGasa, WSDA Chief Entomologist. "It's also a possibility that a caterpillar was carried in after it was no longer feeding."
 Gypsy moth catch numbers have dwindled and the moth flight season for mating appears to be over, added LaGasa. Some additional moth catches may be reported as WSDA trappers complete their final round of trap checks and begin trap removal this month. The traps contain a small plastic strip which carries the scent of a female moth. The scent can attract a male moth from as far as a mile away. Once inside, the moth is caught in the trap's sticky lining.
 Plans for actions needed to eradicate the gypsy moth infestations identified in the state will be made later in the year.
 People wishing more information can call WSDA's toll-free information number, 800-443-MOTH (6684), Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
 -0- 9/21/92
 /CONTACT: Craig Weckesser of the Washington State Department of Agriculture, 206-586-8494/ CO: Washington State Department of Agriculture ST: Washington IN: SU:


LM -- SE008 -- 1714 09/21/92 13:21 EDT
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Date:Sep 21, 1992
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