Preventing Asian gypsy moths in Chatham County - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Preventing Asian gypsy moths in Chatham County

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) -

Hundreds of little green boxes are hanging from trees in Chatham County for a good reason. 

Last fall, the Georgia Forestry Commission found an Asian gypsy moth in the western part of the county, what they believe was a stowaway on a container ship.

"In the Savannah area, if you looked around Savannah, and you took what we see today in a normal spring time or summertime setting, take all of the leaves off of the trees,” said Forest Health Coordinator Chip Bates, Georgia Forestry Commission.

That's what the Georgia Forestry Commission says the Asian gypsy moth can do to hardwoods, like the live oaks that create the beautiful canopies Savannah is known for.

"It would basically devastate the economy, from the economic standpoint of our recreation. Most people want to come and see our beautiful live oaks,” said Bates.

After finding the gypsy moth last fall, the Forestry Commission decided to partner up with local and federal agencies to blanket the area with traps. And it's a process Bates says will last for three years.

"We didn't want to step back and wait. We didn't want to have to say, this is why we didn't do anything. So that's when we started putting out over 1100 traps around the city,” Bates said.

As for this season, Bates has good news.

"Out of the 1,100 traps we have out, they have been checked three different times, and we've caught nothing at this point,” he said.

Bates says their team carefully checks each trap, then moves onto the next trap every quarter mile. That process is repeated every two weeks.

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