Moving to a New State? Check the Rules on the 3 ‘P’s: Pets, Plants, and Pests
It’s right up there with death and divorce. Moving house can be one of the most stressful things you ever do. It gets even more complicated when you’re moving from one state to another. There may be things that you need to know which you never have thought about, especially when it comes to your pets, plants, and furniture.
The reason that rules and regulations exist for moving outdoor furniture, plants, and pets across state lines is that of the possibility of carrying problems into the new state. It makes sense if the new state does not have conditions that the old state did, they would take steps to make sure they are not inadvertently brought in.
Failure to follow the rules may have serious consequences, so it is worth checking before you move.
Did you know about the Gypsy Moth?
The Gypsy Moth is amazingly destructive. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), moth caterpillars have defoliated more than 75 million acres of forest and woodland since 1970 and have the capacity to kill more than 300 native species.
The problem is so serious that the USDA has created a quarantine area. If you live in a quarantine area, you must legally ensure that you prevent the spread of the moth.
· The Quarantine States
The quarantine area stretches from Michigan/Wisconsin eastwards all the way to some counties in Maine, and south as far as Virginia. States affected by an entire ban are; Michigan, Pennsylvania New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Maryland. Partial quarantine exists in Wisconsin, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia and Maine.
Basically, the whole north-eastern quadrant of the country is affected.
· What You Must Do
Before you move from of these states to any non-quarantine state you must inspect your furniture, especially outdoor furniture, for evidence of the moth’s eggs, larvae, caterpillars and chrysalises.
You can get a professional to do this for you or you can choose to do it yourself. Either way, you must carry a checklist – the professional will give one to you. If you do it yourself, then there is a handy checklist on the USDA site and every item must be verified.
The list of items to be checked is extensive, so the USDA has broken it down into categories to make tracking easier:
- Recreation and Camping equipment – this includes ice chests. You must pay attention to detail.
- Household Items including washing machines.
- Building materials.
- Yard and Garden Items.
- Children’s Playthings.
- Miscellaneous – a catch-all category including things like snow-tires.
Other Insect Pests to Watch Out For
There are many other insect pests. The citrus states like Florida have a similar quarantine in place to prevent the spread of Asian Citrus Psyllid. New York and Ohio also have quarantines to prevent the spread of the Asian Longhorned Beetle.
Thirty, that is fully 30 states, have quarantines in place designed to stop the Emerald Ash Borer Beetle. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. A good place to check out the implications is the USDA website which gives information and pictures as well as advice on how to destroy these pests properly.
Check Before Transporting House and Garden Plants Across State Lines
You might not think twice about moving your houseplants, but states are vigilant about protecting their lands from out-of-state imports which have the potential to cause damage to state crops. Imagine for a moment what would happen to Idaho if there was a problem with the potato crop.
The rules from state-to-state vary, so it is important to research in advance of your move. Some states limit movement to indoor plants only, others ban certain plants altogether. But remember you will need to declare any plants you take to a new state, and they will be inspected and perhaps even quarantined.
If this seems like a lot of work, it is worthwhile remembering you may get a healthy fine and the plant will be destroyed.
You might be sad about the idea of leaving a plant behind when you move, but leaving an animal might be out of the question. Like plants though, moving an animal from one state to another has consequences and you must obey the rules for the good of your pet.
Most domestic animals from your hamster to a horse are subject to rules – and of course, the rules differ between states. Some states ban or restrict certain dogs, usually ones that are considered dangerous, breeds like Pitbulls and Mastiffs.
At a basic level, most states require an up-to-date interstate health certificate which you can get from your vet. This applies especially to dogs and horses.
You will need to ensure that all vaccinations are up to date, especially rabies and you might even be required to get an entry permit.
The state of Hawaii will quarantine cats and dogs for 120 days before they are allowed to go home.
Like plants and insect pests, these rules and regulations make sense for the state you are moving to – but also for the ongoing health of the plant and especially animal. So it makes no sense to either ignore these regulations or leave them until the last minute of your move. There would be nothing sadder than the animal being destroyed and you receiving a sizeable fine.
Where to Find Out More
There are plenty of resources online to help you navigate these legal requirements. The USDA website is full of information about pests and plants. It also gives you guidelines at the state level so you can be sure that you know exactly what you need to do.
With regards to animals, the best place for additional information is the state veterinarian or the State Department of Animal Husbandry.
Just like any other aspect of a big move, plan for your pets and plants in advance. That way there are no surprises on moving day.