What do you do if you’re out camping or hiking and you spy a spongy moth or its eggs in one of nine northern Indiana counties or in the entire lower peninsula of Michigan, where the U.S. Department of Agriculture is trying to quarantine this destructive pest? 

A recent IndyStar story explored the moth’s threat to forests and how Purdue University calls it “the most serious forest defoliator in the United States.” They mostly chew on oak tree leaves but are also known to go after 300 species of trees and shrubs. 

Some may know the invasive insect better as gypsy moth, its former moniker until it was recently renamed.  

The Tribune reached out to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources for some extra answers. 

How to deal with spongy moths

It’s “critical” that humans stop giving the pest a ride to another locale, according to Kristy Stultz, a nursery inspector and compliance officer for the DNR’s Division of Entomology and Plant Pathology. Indiana’s nine quarantined counties include St. Joseph, Elkhart, LaPorte, Porter, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, DeKalb and Allen. Lake and Whitley counties are in the process of being added to that list.

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