Gypsy Moth

Pest: Gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar)

Pest Type: Insect Pest

Major Identifying Features: Gypsy moth caterpillars are 2.5 inches long, reddish-brown pupal cases hanging from tree, adult moths emerge in mid-summer, oval convex egg masses, adults are dark brown, 1/4 inch long, have longer hairs at each end, larvae has blue spots on segments, males fly in zig-zag patterns to search for females

Life Cycle: Complete metamorphosis, 4 stages (egg, larva, pupa, adult), eggs overwinter in the egg masses, masses may contain up to 600 eggs, larvae can “balloon” to a different host, larvae feed 6-7 weeks, in June and July larvae pupate, 2 weeks later adults emerge, adults only live for a short period and do not feed, usually one generation per year

Pest Rating: Minor to moderate

Management Rating: Easy to moderate

Host/Season/Outbreak Information: Hosts include many hardwood species, some conifers, pines, spruce, eastern red cedar, and occasionally firs and Douglas-fir

Damage Information: Heaviest damage frequently caused by more mature larvae that have consumed all the food supply in the area: repeated light or a single severe defoliation of conifers usually results in tree mortality, larvae can cause defoliation of branches

Management Options: Prevention by planting crop away from hardwood stands or other preferred hosts, monitoring year-round for egg masses, treat with pesticides only when necessary

Sources:

extension.psu.edu

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