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On March 2, 2022, the Entomological Society of America officially changed the common name of Lymantria dispar dispar to spongy moth.

The spongy moth is a destructive, exotic forest pest that was accidentally introduced into the United States in 1869. It is currently established throughout the Northeast and parts of the upper Midwest.

The Office of Plant Industry Services manages the spongy moth program across the Commonwealth. Program areas include: Suppression, Slow the Spread, Quarantine and Regulatory.

Spongy Moth Suppression

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services cooperates with the U.S. Forest Service and localities to suppress spongy moth populations and protect contiguously forested areas with priority to residential, forested and high-use public recreational areas. This program is locally based with infested localities determining their own level of participation. Requirements for participation can be found in the Virginia Spongy Moth Suppression Program Guidelines. Federal cost-share money may be available for participating localities.

Suppression Information for County Coordinators

Spongy Moth Slow the Spread

Virginia participates in the Spongy Moth Slow the Spread Foundation, which establishes a formal framework for cooperation among states and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to slow the spread of the spongy moth.

The Office of Plant Industry Services conducts annual surveys at the edge of the generally infested area in an effort to find low spongy moth populations. The goal of the Slow the Spread program is early detection so that these small spongy moth infestations can be more easily managed.

Spongy Moth Quarantine & Regulatory

The goal of the Virginia Spongy Moth Quarantine is to prevent the artificial movement of the spongy moth from areas which are infested (quarantine area) to those areas which are not infested. The Office of Plant Industry Services conducts spongy moth surveys each year to determine when population levels warrant adding new localities to the quarantine.

The spongy moth regulatory program provides assistance to businesses which may be impacted by requirements of the Virginia Spongy Moth Quarantine. Businesses moving regulated articles must ensure that these articles are free of the spongy moth. The Office of Plant Industry Services can conduct inspections or enter into compliance agreements with impacted businesses to allow for self-inspections and certification of regulated articles. To obtain information about compliance agreements, please contact 804.786.3515.

If you are planning to move a recreational vehicle, shed, outdoor furniture, equipment or toys from an area infested with the spongy moth to an area that is not infested, visit Your Move Spongy Moth Free to see how you can conduct an inspection and ensure compliance with state and federal spongy moth quarantines.

Additional Information & Resources

Public Notification Meetings

In response to COVID-19 and in an effort to follow Governor Northam's amended Executive Order 67 (reducing indoor gathering to less than 25 persons), the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) will not be holding in-person, public notification meetings, regarding Spongy Moth treatments. 

Instead, VDACS has posted documents to Notify the Public regarding the 2024 Spongy Moth treatments, including proposed treatment maps, treatment information, and information on the Slow the Spread project. All information for the 2023 Spongy Moth Treatment Public Notification can be found at the links below:

2024 Virginia Treatment Sites (pdf)

National Spongy Moth Slow-The-Spread Program

If you have a question regarding the 2024 Virginia Spongy Moth Slow the Spread project, please use the contact information listed below.

Spongy Moth Slow the Spread
Benjamin Templeton

Spongy Moth Suppression and Regulatory
Anna Pasternak

Click here for Office of Plant Industry Services contact information.

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