OLYMPIA — The annual hunt for invasive agricultural pests has begun.
State Department of Agriculture crews will set thousands of traps statewide this summer to help monitor the introduction or spread of more than 130 invasive pests and diseases, including apple maggot, Japanese beetle, gypsy moth and Asian giant hornet.
Most traps are placed along roadsides and public properties, but state law gives WSDA authority to trap for invasive pests on private property. Traps are sometimes placed on private property when necessary to ensure coverage in an area.
Property owners who want a trap removed from their property before the end of the trapping season can call 1-800-443-6684.
Traps for gypsy moth and Japanese beetle already are being deployed. About 20,000 gypsy moth traps are expected to be placed statewide this summer. In addition to the normal trapping for Japanese beetle, WSDA will conduct intensive trapping in the Grandview area where photos of an apparent beetle infestation were submitted to the department earlier this spring, according to a press release. Both gypsy moths and Japanese beetles attack more than 300 types of plants.
The traps for apple maggot flies go up in June, said WSDA spokeswoman Karla Salp. Parts of Chelan and Okanogan counties are included in the apple maggot quarantine area. Homegrown fruit and municipal waste from a quarantined area is not allowed in a pest-free area. For the details on the quarantine, go to wwrld.us/applemaggot.
Trapping for Asian giant hornet worker hornets starts in July, when worker hornets are active, and will continue until November. WSDA will trap exclusively in Whatcom County. The agency also is encouraging “citizen scientists” in Whatcom, Skagit, San Juan, Island, Clallam and Jefferson counties to trap this year beginning in July. For details, see the “trapping” tab at agr.wa.gov/hornets.