Traps hung to contain gypsy moths in Washington

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- The annual summer search is under way across Washington the gypsy motth, an invasive insect capable of defoliating forests and urban landscapes.

The state Department of Agriculture has hired 25 trappers to place 20,000 small cardboard traps in neighborhoods, business districts, ports and rural areas to nip any infestations in the bud.

The Olympian reports the orange and lime-green traps are scented with a non-toxic synthetic pheromone that attracts male moths.

Inside the trap, a sticky substance snares the moths, helping trappers identify areas where an outbreak of gypsy moth caterpillars could occur next spring.

Traps will be checked every two to three weeks before they're removed in September.

Trappers found 13 gypsy moths last summer, the lowest number since the early 1970s.

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Information from: The Olympian, http://www.theolympian.com