Tips for identifying whether you live in an area that is infested with gypsy moths, and what to do before you move.

With so many "big" things to think about during a move - it's important not to overlook a "small" thing that can cause big damage - the Gypsy Moth. The gypsy moth is one of the most destructive pests of trees and shrubs to ever be introduced into the United States. Gorging themselves on leaves, gypsy moth caterpillars defoliate, weaken, and can kill more than 300 different species of trees. Since 1970, gypsy moths have defoliated more than 75 million acres in the United States.

In 1999 the USDA's Forest Service launched the "Slow the Spread" campaigh, a program created to reduce the rate of gypsy moth movement into noninfested areas.  Part of the measures taken by the U.S. Department of Agriculture is a requirement that homeowners inspect and remove gypsy moth egg masses from household goods prior to moving from an infested to a non-infested area.

If you are currently in an area of the country that is infested (most of the Northeast), and moving to an area that is not - your moving company will require you to read and acknowledge the requirements set forth by the Department of Agriculture.  Inspecting your household goods for gypsy moth goes beyond being a good citizen - it's the law.  Failure to inspect your articles prior to moving could result in fines, and quarantine of your household goods.

The USDA has developed a great website to help you learn if you are in an infested area, and how to inspect your items for this destructive pest.  Your move counselor at A. Arnold can also help with any questions, and help make sure your move is gypsy moth free.