Workers looking for invasive pests in Washington trees found one sitting crisscross applesauce in a trap.
“We’ve caught our fair share of spongy moths in traps, but this may be a first,” the Washington State Department of Agriculture said in a Facebook post.
The spongy moth was spotted by trappers Aug. 14 in Thurston County, the department said.
“What do you think this guy is thinking?” the department wrote.
These creatures are known as the “most destructive forest pests” because they have defoliated millions of acres of trees in the eastern part of the country, officials said. Trees weaken and eventually die when spongy moths eat the leaves.
“Weakening and killing trees results in destruction of wildlife habitat, degrades water quality of creeks and streams, and reduces the use and aesthetic value of recreation areas,” officials said.
Because of the threat, officials have been working to keep spongy moths from destroying forests in Washington since 1974.
Traps are set with a “pheromone lure” and hung in trees throughout the state “with an emphasis on high-risk areas such as the ports and along major traffic routes,” spokesperson Amber Betts told McClatchy News on Aug. 25.
They are checked about every two weeks from June through September, Betts said. Then they are removed at the end of the trapping season.
As of Aug. 23, 95 spongy moths have been caught in Thurston County, Pierce County, Skagit County and King County.