AP: Gypsy moths and heavy rains causing problems in South Carolina

Mike Quinn entomike at gmail.com
Wed Mar 17 16:40:09 EDT 2010

Need for wood highlights US insect problems
(AP) – 6 hours ago

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Months of heavy rains throughout the South are
forcing International Paper Co. to look beyond its usual suppliers for
wood for its central South Carolina mill and turn to places that are
known to have tree-destroying gypsy moths.

The extensive steps federal regulators are requiring the company to
take to make sure the pests don't get a foothold in the region
highlight just how worrisome the moths are.

The Forest Service says gypsy moths defoliate a million acres of trees
each year in the U.S. Repeated defoliation can permanently damage or
kill trees. South Carolina does not have the moths; Virginia, New York
and Massachusetts — places International Paper is turning to for wood
— do.

"We don't want gypsy moths in South Carolina," said Laurie Reid,
entomologist with the state Forestry Commission. "We've had small
outbreaks where egg masses get transferred down somehow. ... It's
something that can easily happen."

All or part of 20 states from Maine to Wisconsin to the northeastern
corner of North Carolina are under gypsy moth quarantine. That means
items from Christmas trees to recreational vehicles — anything that
can host an egg mass — has to be inspected or given special handling
instructions before being moved from the quarantine area.
International Paper said wood from Virginia, New York and
Massachusetts will be inspected twice for egg masses before train cars
head to South Carolina. Eggs will either be removed or the wood will
be removed from the shipment.

Workers at the South Carolina mill will do a third inspection and
destroy any egg masses they find, said Richard Shaw, director of fiber
supply for Memphis, Tenn.-based International Paper.

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