527 - 06/07 - Asian Gypsy Moth Program - USA


The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has updated its information regarding the Asian Gypsy Moth (AGM) program. As of 01 June 2007, six high-risk ports have been designated in Japan. Ships visiting any of those ports during high-risk periods will be required to have inspection certificates if they intend to visit any US ports within the following year. 

Inspections may be arranged with any of six selected companies in Japan. Similar requirements exist for ships calling at Far East Russian ports, except that inspections are performed by a Russian Government agency. Ships without certificates risk significant delays upon arrival at US ports.

Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) requests that the following ships have approved certification of freedom from AGM prior to departure during identified high-risk periods when female moths deposit egg masses:

· Ships that have been in Far East Russian ports between July 15 and September 30 of the previous year; and

· Ships that have been in high-risk Japanese ports.


Far East Russian ports are those from Posyet to Nikolayevsk. Of those, the three most likely ports are Nakhodka, Vladivostok, and Vostochnyy. The list of high risk Japanese ports includes Hachinohe, Hakodate, Hannon, Hiroshima, Ooita, and Sakata. Northern Chinese ports and Korean ports may also be suspect.

Ships identified as being high risk will be boarded while inbound or at pre-approved sites, and inspected for AGM. Low risk ships are allowed to proceed to the intended berth for initial AGM inspection and follow-up monitoring, if necessary.

Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Guam are exempt from excluding entry to ships because the climate and host conditions are not suitable for AGM. Therefore, throughout the year, ships from Far East Russian and identified high-risk Japanese ports are allowed to arrive in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Guam subject to inspection. If the ship's schedule includes subsequent continental US ports of call, then the ship must be inspected for AGM.

Southern ports will consider AGM inspections all year round because there is a possible risk of larvae hatching in these warmer climates, even during the months which are not considered the high-risk hatching period.

What is Asian Gypsy Moth?

The purpose of the emergency action is to prevent the artificial spread of AGM (Lymantria dispar - a highly destructive insect of trees) from high-risk areas where AGM populations are at high densities.

The female AGM is an active flyer that is attracted to lights, and capable of flying up to 25 miles.

Attracted by the lights on ships, the females may lay eggs on various objects, including the superstructure and cargo of ships. The larvae can be blown by the wind short distances on silk strands.

Source of information:

Martyn Haines & Pat Bush

Thomas Miller (Americas), New Jersey

United States Department of Agriculture

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)


Staff Author