Based on low gypsy moth trap catches this year, Washington State Department of Agriculture say they have no plans for eradication programs in 2009.

The move marks the second yeare in a row where no treatments will be conducted, according to a news release.

"The physical evidence at the sites was not strong enough for proposing an eradication treatment," says Jim Marra, managing entomologist for the Olympia-based department.

The last treatment occurred in Kent in 2007.

Department trappers caught 21 moths at 17 sites this summer. Multiple catches occurred at Fort Lewis, Kent and Point Roberts.

All catches were of the less-threatening European gypsy moth.

State inspectors will hang about 25,000 small cardboard traps in the field next summer looking for new introductions of the pest.

Sites where moths were caught in 2008 will be heavily trapped in 2009, Marra says.

The gypsy moth was first detected in Washington in 1974, but permanent populations have never been established. The state has conducted 85 moth eradication treatments since 1979.

The 19 U.S. states with permanent populations incur millions of dollars of environmental and economic damage annually.

Pennsylvania, for example, spent $7.9 million treating more than 220,000 acres this year to try to suppress—and not eradicate—the pest.

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