Hokkaido gypsy moth

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state authorities have identified an unprecedented pest that could defoliate forests in the region.

The Capital Press reported Monday that the state Department of Agriculture has announced likely plans to mount an air assault to eradicate the Hokkaido gypsy moth.

Department officials say they have asked the governor's office for $176,000 in state funds to spray and trap the potentially new and destructive pest to see if a population is developing.

Authorities say the first Hokkaido moth ever detected in the U.S. was caught by the department in July in southwest Snohomish County.

Authorities say the moths are mobile and eat a wide variety of plants and trees.

Officials say the department currently traps Asian and European gypsy moths each year to keep them from defoliating forests.

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Information from: Capital Press, http://www.capitalpress.com/washington

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