Top Image. The Problem

Why are gypsy moths a problem?
This moth is a significant pest because the caterpillars have voracious appetites for more than 300 species of trees and shrubs, posing a danger to North America's forests. The caterpillars defoliate trees, leaving trees vulnerable to diseases and other pests and can eventually kill the tree.

What kills gypsy moths?
Destroy egg masses by spraying them with a horticultural oil labeled for gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) egg masses (available at lawn and garden centers or online) or by scraping them off and killing them. Do not use motor oil, mineral oils, non-horticultural oils or others not labeled for Lymantria dispar.

Is gypsy moth spray toxic?
This product targets only Lepidoptera larvae feeding at the time, and is non-toxic to birds, animals, humans, honeybees, fish, and most other insects. The spray must be applied while the early instar larvae are actively hatching and feeding on the foliage, usually early to mid-May.

Bottom Image. The Problem

What do you do with gypsy moth eggs?
Empty the contents of your catchment container or bag into a bucket of soapy water. Leave the eggs sitting in the bucket for a day or two, then dispose of the contents. Egg masses can be located high up in trees.

Should I worry about gypsy moths?
Should I be concerned? Gypsy moths are a concern because the larvae feed voraciously, mostly on the leaves of deciduous (leafy) trees, but also on some conifers (evergreens). During the larval stage, a single gypsy moth caterpillar can eat an average of one square metre of leaves.

Do gypsy moth eggs survive winter?
The egg masses remain in place all winter and hatch the following spring from late April to mid-May. Once hatched, the caterpillars begin to feed for approximately seven weeks.

Are gypsy moths poisonous to dogs?
Caterpillars are especially dangerous to dogs. ... Other caterpillars like the Slug, Asp and Gypsy moth varieties appear hairy or spiny and can also be toxic to pets, causing intestinal problems and painful internal reactions.

Their Diet
Top Image. Their Diet

What does gypsy moths eat?
Gypsy moth caterpillars feed on approximately 500 different plants. Older larvae will sometimes eat several species of hardwood that the younger larvae will avoid. However, when food is scarce, the larvae will feed on almost any vegetation.

Do gypsy moths eat maple trees?
In addition to being a nuisance, gypsy moths strip trees of their leaves. While oaks are their favourite, they'll also eat the leaves of maple, beech, birch, and sometimes even evergreen trees.

Can a tree survive gypsy moths?
One year of Gypsy Moth feeding won't kill a healthy, mature tree. Healthy hardwood trees will regrow their leaves. Small, diseased or stressed trees due to pests, pollution, drought or root compaction are more vulnerable.

Image 2. Their Diet

Do gypsy moths eat boxwoods?
Damage to boxwood plants is caused by the larvae (caterpillars) feeding primarily on leaves and sometimes on the bark. Infested plants are disfigured by the loss of leaves and by the webbing spun by the larvae. Younger larvae feed by eating the lower surfaces of the leaves only, leaving the upper epidermis intact.

Do gypsy moths eat rose bush leaves?
The caterpillars of the gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) are voracious foliage feeders that will eat the leaves of a wide variety of shrubs and trees. ... Healthy plants can regrow their leaves, so chances are good your shrubs will recover from the attack.

How do I stop caterpillars eating my Buxus?
Wherever practical, remove the caterpillars by hand, or prune out stems covered in the webbing and caterpillars and destroy.

Image 3. Their Diet

Do leaves grow back after gypsy moth?
A healthy tree defoliated by the gypsy moth will normally grow back it leaves in the second half of the summer, after the gypsy moth caterpillars are gone. A healthy tree will usually be able to survive two or three successive bouts of defoliation. After that, it is often too weakened to stand up to other pests.

Do gypsy moths eat arborvitae?
The caterpillars have their preferences. ... The good news is that there are a few plants that the caterpillars tend to avoid - ash, butternut, black walnut, catalpa, flowering dogwood, American holly, locust, sycamore, tulip tree and such evergreens as arborvitae, balsam fir, mountain laurel and rhododendron

Do gypsy moths eat magnolia trees?
Gypsy moths prefer oaks, white birch, and crab apple. They seem to avoid dogwood, magnolia, blue spruce, sour gum, and cherry.

Bottom Image. Their Diet

What trees do gypsy moths not like?
Other hardwood species such as ashes, catalpa (non-native), sycamore and tulip poplar do not seem to be eaten by the Gypsy moth. The most concerning impact will be on conifers. White pine, white and blue spruce (non-native), hemlock and balsam fir are all susceptible.

Which trees do gypsy moths like?
Gypsy moth caterpillars partially or entirely strip trees of their leaves. They prefer oaks, especially white and chestnut. But they'll also eat alder, aspen, basswood, birch, hawthorn and willow trees. Then, because the tree is weak from the loss of its leaves, it becomes vulnerable to other problems.

Do gypsy moths like cedar trees?
Where growing conditions are suitable, the following trees can be planted and gypsy moths normally will not eat them: ash, yellow or tulip poplar, sycamore, black locust, American holly, mulberry, eastern red cedar and red spruce.

Life Cycle
Life Cycle-edited

What turns into a gypsy moth?
The gypsy moth is immobile for most of the pupal stage while its entire body is rearranged within the pupal shell. After a week or two, the worm-like caterpillar has been transformed into the winged adult moth which then breaks free of the pupal shell.

How long will gypsy moths last?
Fourth and fifth instar larvae are very large, with an appetite to match their size. The majority of the defoliation is caused by these later instars. The adult gypsy moths do not feed. The adults live for about 2 weeks, for the sole purpose of reproducing.

How long does it take for a gypsy moth caterpillar to turn into a moth?
The pupation stage lasts approximately 10 to 14 days. During this period, the caterpillars transform into adult moths and emerge from the cocoon.

Bottom Image. Life Cycle

Life Cycle
Gypsy moth undergoes four developmental life stages; these are the egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa, and adult. Gypsy moth females lay between 500 to 1,000 eggs in sheltered areas such as underneath the bark of trees. The eggs are covered with a dense mass of tan or buff-colored hairs. The egg mass is approximately 1.5 inches long and 0.75 inches wide. The eggs are the overwintering stage of the insect. Eggs are attached to trees, houses, or any outdoor objects. The eggs hatch in spring (April) into caterpillars.

Gypsy moth caterpillars are easy to identify, because they possess characteristics not found on other leaf-feeding caterpillars. They have five pairs of blue dots followed by six pairs of red dots lining the back. In addition, they are dark-colored and covered with hairs. Young caterpillars primarily feed during the day whereas the older caterpillars feed at night. When present in large numbers, the older caterpillars feed day and night. Young caterpillars spread to new locations by crawling to the tops of trees, where they spin a silken thread and are caught on wind currents. Older caterpillars are approximately 1.5 to 2.0 inches long. Gypsy moth caterpillars do not produce a web, which distinguishes it from web-making caterpillars such as the Eastern tent caterpillar, Malacosoma americanum and the fall webworm, Hyphantria cunea. The Gypsy moth larval stage lasts approximately seven weeks.

In early summer (June to early July), Gypsy moth caterpillars enter a pupal or transitional stage. The pupae are dark brown, shell-like cases approximately two inches long and covered with hairs. They are primarily located in sheltered areas such as tree bark crevices or leaf litter. Adult Gypsy moths emerge from the pupae in 10 to 14 days. They are present from July into August. Females have white to cream-colored wings, a tan body, and a two-inch wingspan. Female Gypsy moths cannot fly. Males, which are smaller than females, with a 1.5-inch wingspan, are dark-brown and have feathery antennae. Both the adult female and male can be identified by the inverted V-shape that points to a dot on the wings. Gypsy moth has only one generation per year. Gypsy moth populations will go through cycles in which the populations will increase for several years then decline, and then increase again. Area-wide outbreaks can occur for up to ten years, but generally population densities in localized areas remain high for two to three years. Courtesy of: University of Illinois Extension, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of ACES

Their Predators
Top Image. Thier Predators

Do squirrels eat gypsy moths?
Despite being an invasive species, some predators do exist, including the black-billed cuckoo, blue jays, and orioles, all of which eat the caterpillars. ... We were delighted to learn that chickadees will feed on the egg masses, and chipmunks, skunks, raccoons, and squirrels eat gypsy moth pupae.

What animals eat caterpillars?
The main predators of caterpillars are birds and large insects. They are also preyed upon by small mammals and reptiles. The biggest threat to caterpillars, butterflies and moths is habitat destruction.

Do ladybugs eat caterpillars?
Ladybird Beetles
Ladybirds will eat other type of insects, notably caterpillars. Since aphids and caterpillars are harmful to plants, gardeners use ladybirds to biologically control them. Caterpillars have fairly soft bodies; ladybirds find them very soft to munch, particularly small ones.

Bottom Image. Their Predators

Do gypsy moths have any predators?
When gypsy moth populations are low, predation by small mammals is the largest source of mortality. The most common predators are deer mice, Peromyscus spp. and shrews, Sorex spp. These animals predate on late instar larvae and pupae.

Do birds eat gypsy moths?
Many birds do not like to feed on large, hairy gypsy moth caterpillars, but other species seem to relish them! Yellow-billed and black-billed cuckoos, blue jays, orioles and rufous-sided towhees are among the species that feed on gypsy moth caterpillars.

A single gypsy moth caterpillar can eat one square metre of leaves in a season. Repeated defoliation makes trees susceptible to other pests and diseases, and can eventually lead to tree death.


Defoliation in orchards can increase vulnerability to agricultural pests and
diseases and can negatively impact farm stock.

Loss of species in natural areas can affect biodiversity and forest wildlife.

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