The gypsy moth, which is defoliating trees in the northeastern United States, hasn’t been found in Oregon – but it’s important to keep the moth out of the state. This invasive insect feeds on more than 300 tree species, including alder, aspen, cottonwood, willows and oaks.
In June 2020, the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Insect Pest Prevention and Management program needed help in distributing 9,000 traps by July 24. Because of COVID-19, it wasn’t possible to hire a usual seasonal crew of 22. Jake Bodart, IPPM manager, contacted the Oregon State University Extension Service for assistance in placing the bright green, triangular-shaped sticky traps in trees in Clatsop, Tillamook, Lincoln, Jackson, Curry and Josephine counties.
Sam Angima, associate dean for Extension in OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences, contacted Forestry and Natural Resources Extension (FNR) Program Leader Jim Johnson to mobilize FNR Extension agents and volunteers from the OSU Extension Master Woodland Manager, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener programs to assist IPPM with the placement and collection of gypsy moth monitoring traps in their areas.
Dan Stark, FNR Extension agent, coordinated efforts with IPPM with the support of fellow FNR Extention agents Norma Kline and Max Bennett.
After being trained on trap placement and COVID-19 protocals, 60 volunteers helped FNR agents place traps and information cards that included date and location were filled out and mailed to the Oregon Department of Agriculture, all by the end of July. The traps were collected in early October, with COVID-19 orders still in place, and while the last of Oregon’s historic wildfires still hadn’t been fully contained.
FNR agents and volunteers deployed and collected 340 traps across western Oregon for the IPPM program. Only two gypsy moths were detected in Columbia and Multnomah counties. Because of OSU Extension, the agriculture department was able to meet its deadline and make headway into efforts to keep gypsy moths from establishing in the state.