Moth-infested ship turned back to sea
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said a ship bound from Japan to Stockton, Calif., was ordered out of U.S. territorial waters because agriculture specialists discovered Asian Gypsy Moth egg masses on it.
'Had it not been discovered, this destructive insect could have caused severe economic damage to a critical area of California's agriculture community,' said Richard Vigna, CBP San Francisco Field Office's director of field operations.
AGM are not native to the United States. Compared to the European Gypsy Moth they pose a greater potential threat. They have more than 500 different host plants compared to the EGM, and the female is an active flier covering up to 20 miles per day whereas the EGM female is flightless.
The ship will not be allowed back in until CBP and the United States Department of Agriculture are satisfied that the vessel operator has thoroughly eliminated the pest.