Half of Wisconsin's counties in
gypsy moth quarantine zone
MADISON -- More than half of Wisconsin's counties are
now in a gypsy moth quarantine zone and the rest could
be within several years, according to state agricultural
The state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer
Protection has added seven central counties to the zone,
extending from Lake Michigan to the Wisconsin River, raising
the total to 39 of the state's 72 counties.
It also marks the destructive insect's relentless westward
push across the state. The counties added last week were
Adams, Dane, Lincoln, Marathon, Marquette, Oneida and
Placing a county under quarantine acknowledges that the
gypsy moth population there is steadily increasing despite
past efforts to contain it, said Melody Walker, pest survey
and control chief for the department.
"When a county reaches the level of gypsy moth infestation
where there is a reproducing population in previously
treated areas, and we are not able to control it, then
the county is added to the quarantine," Walker said.
Under the quarantine, each of the hundreds of plant nurseries,
Christmas tree farms, pulp mills and sawmills must be
inspected to prevent shipping products out of the area
that might be hiding the pest, said Bob Dahl, the department's
chief of plant protection.
The European gypsy moth, introduced into the United States
in 1869, spreads to several thousand acres of new territory
each year in a triangle formed between Maine, North Carolina
Its caterpillars, which can defoliate large areas if
unchecked, prefer to eat leaves of oak, apple, aspen,
white birch, basswood, alder and hawthorn.