Gypsy Moths

Gyspsy Moth

USDA APHIS PPQ and Joseph Obrien, Bugwood.org

Description

Gypsy Moth Caterpillars are long (up to 2½ inches), dark gray or blue, with black hairs and red and blue spots on their backs. Male Gypsy Moths are grayish-brown and often fly in a zigzag pattern. Female Moths are large, white with black markings, and cannot fly.

Damage

Gypsy Moth adults are relatively harmless. However, their larvae (Caterpillars) are among the most damaging shade tree pests around. They especially love aspen and oak trees, feeding on the leaves and leaving holes and potential defoliation.

Egg masses are tan, teardrop-shaped and covered in yellow hairs. In the spring, you’ll find them attached to many outdoor objects. Heavy infestations of caterpillars can soon follow.

Location

Gypsy Moths are heavily found in the Northeast and Great Lakes Regions, and somewhat in the Midwest and Western United States.

Cultural Solutions
  • Keep trees healthy and properly watered.
  • Remove egg masses from trees and structures. Place them in soapy water to drown the eggs.