SEATTLE — A recent proclamation issued by the governor of the State of Washington, Jay Inslee, warns about the detection of Hokkaido gypsy moths in areas in Snohomish County, Washington.
This is the first detection of the species in the U.S., the Washington State Department of Agriculture said in a press release.
The Hokkaido gypsy moth is native to Russia, according to the National Invasive Species Information Center from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Asian gypsy moths measure three and a half inches (about 9 centimeters) long and female moths can lay from 500 to 1,000 eggs, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
In a press release, the Washington Department of Agriculture said European gypsy moth caterpillars eat more than 500 types of trees, plants, and shrubs.
However, Karla Salp, a spokeswoman for the department, told UPI that Asian gypsy moths pose a greater threat than European gypsy moths because they can consume more species of plants.
If the species establishes itself in Washington it would become a threat to forest ecosystems and could lead to quarantine restrictions and increased homeowner pesticide use, according to Washington's agriculture department.