Eau Claire and Richland Counties Added to Wisconsin Gypsy Moth Quarantine

Release Date: May 18, 2021

Media Contacts: Kevin Hoffman, Public Information Officer, (608) 224-5005, kevin.hoffman@wi.gov

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MADISON — Trapping data collected by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) indicates that the gypsy moth, an invasive insect from Europe that feeds on the leaves of more than 300 tree species, is now established in Eau Claire and Richland counties. As a result, both counties have been placed un​der state and federal gypsy moth quarantine, joining most of eastern and central Wisconsin already considered to be infested with the pest.

This is the first time since 2015 new counties have been added to the quarantine, and 52 of Wisconsin's 72 counties are now quarantined for gypsy moth. The quarantine has the greatest impact on plant nurseries, Christmas tree growers and lumber mills, because of movement restrictions and inspection requirements. Logs and nursery stock must be certified free of gypsy moth before they can be transported into non-quarantined counties or states.

People living in a quarantine county must be careful when moving outdoor items. Because gypsy moths can lay eggs on nearly anything kept outside, there is a risk of moving gypsy moths when transporting patio furniture, campers, boat trailers or firewood.

“If you are going camping or to your cabin, check your gear before leaving to be sure you aren't carrying gypsy moth egg masses, caterpillars, cocoons or adults with you. This is very important if you're headed to areas in far western Wisconsin, Minnesota or Iowa where gypsy moths aren't prevalent," said Brian Kuhn, director of the Plant Industry Bureau at DATCP. “If you are moving your entire household from the quarantine area, you may be asked to show your completed USDA checklist verifying that your possessions have been checked for gypsy moth."

It is important to remember the quarantine restrictions even though you ma​​y not notice widespread tree damage in the quarantine area.

“A county can be infested, but gypsy moth may be concentrated in certain areas, so not everyone may notice them or experience the same level of damage," Kuhn said.

The goal of the gypsy moth program is to slow its spread across Wisconsin and the nation. Based on an economic analysis, for every dollar invested in the gypsy moth program there is a $3 return on investment due to the delay in the onset of negative impacts as gypsy moth invades new areas.

For more information, contact Shahla Werner at (608) 957-5100 or shahla.werner@wisconsin.gov or see the resources below.

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