What You Need to Know About Moving and Gypsy Moths

Be on the lookout for gypsy moths

If you’re moving, you may need to be on the lookout for a little critter called the gypsy moth. While small, it has the potential to cause big damage, and several areas don’t want any part of it. In fact, they have laws in place to help make sure it stays far, far away. If you’re moving to a restricted location, you may be required to complete a Gypsy Moth/Insect Inspection Checklist to verify that you’ve checked all items stored outdoors, and that everything is free of the moth and its eggs. 

What is a gypsy moth?

It’s a type of invasive pest most commonly found in the northeastern part of the country. Gypsy moths are very destructive to hardwood trees and are often found on items kept outdoors. They start life as caterpillars, which look like this:

gypsy moth caterpillar


Then they turn into moths, looking like this:

gypsy moth


Why all the concern with a little moth?

Gypsy moths are one of the most destructive pests in the United States. According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, they can eat up to one square foot of leaves per day, easily destroying an entire forest. Laws were put into place to keep the moths from being moved, hopefully protecting national parks and other important vegetation.

What areas are under the gypsy moth quarantine?

As mentioned, the northeastern part of the United States is where gypsy moths are typically found.  Because of this, most of that region is part of the United States Department of Agriculture European Gypsy Moth North America quarantine. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency also regulates gypsy moth inspections in Canada.  Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, Canada are all in the quarantine area.

How to check for them

To comply with the law, all outdoor items you’re planning to move into or through the areas mentioned above must be thoroughly inspected before being loaded into the moving truck or container. This includes (but is not limited to) things like patio furniture, children’s toys, lawn equipment, barbecue grills, etc. You’ll be looking for moths, caterpillars and egg masses. The eggs will look like the brown masses.

Any moths or eggs identified must be removed and destroyed. Some recommended methods for removing and destroying egg masses include using a putty knife or steel brush to scrape them off, then placing the eggs in a container of hot, soapy water, or placing them in a plastic bag, sealing it and setting it in the sun.

Filling out the checklist

Once your U-Pack move is reserved, we’ll email you a link to the Gypsy Moth/Insect Inspection Checklist. Check each outdoor item off the list and inspect and clean it. When you’re finished, and the form is completely filled out, submit the form at least five business days before your move date. U-Pack will file it on your behalf. Please check with your U-Pack moving consultant if you are moving on shorter notice than this.

If you do not have outdoor items listed on the checklist, simply mark the box at the end of the checklist that reads, “If you are NOT moving any of the items listed above, leave blank and please check here.”

*Note: Only items that have been stored outdoors or in outbuildings need to be checked. For example, children’s toys kept inside do not have to be inspected, but those stored outside do.

It’s also important to note items that are marked DNS (Do Not Ship) — these items cannot be moved in a U-Pack shipment. Items marked DF must have fluids drained before loading.

Access the checklist online by entering your reservation number.

Have questions about gypsy moth inspections?

Do you need assistance with your Gypsy Moth/Insect Inspection Checklist or have questions about moving long distance? We’re happy to help!

To learn more about gypsy moths, visit the USDA website.

Related Reading: Things to Know About the Spotted Lanternfly