Inspectors find invasive moth eggs on ship at Baltimore port


BALTIMORE (AP) — Agriculture specialists discovered eggs from a nonnative species of moth known to harm plant life onboard a cargo ship that docked at the Port of Baltimore this month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Tuesday.

U.S. Department of Agriculture experts determined the eggs were laid by an Asian gypsy moth, a “voracious pest” that can pose a “major threat” to forests in North America, according to the department’s Invasive Species Information Center.

Inspectors found the eggs under a hatch door on a coal freighter, Customs and Border Protection said in a statement. The ship was confirmed to have made trips in China and Japan during the summer of 2019 and had arrived in Baltimore from the United Kingdom on March 22, the agency said.

Specialists removed the egg mass and treated the affected area, the statement said. Officials emphasized that vessels that dock at Asian ports are generally inspected for the masses and governments in countries at high risk for the moths typically certify that ships leaving their ports do not contain any egg masses.

The species is known to attack more than 500 types of trees and plants in the U.S., the statement said.