Gypsy Moths, specifically the European Gypsy moth EGM (Lymantria dispar dispar), threaten our trees and forests in south-western Ontario. We homeowners and gardeners need to know how to recognize and deal with this nasty pest which can completely defoliate and kill our trees!
First – Understand the Characteristics and Life cycle of the Gypsy Moth
- Overwinters in the egg stage often on the bark of trees
- In Spring, eggs hatch and larvae ascend the trees to feed on the new foliage
- Initially, feeding occurs during the day, but as the caterpillars mature, feeding occurs mainly at night- often this can delay the detection of infestations.
- Mature larvae are 50mm long, dark-coloured, hairy, with a double row of five pairs of blue spots, followed by a double row of six pairs of red spots, down the back.
- Feeding is complete in July
- Male moths are light brown and slender-bodied, while females are white and heavy-bodied
Second – Plan your attack to reduce the destruction caused by this pest
1- Remove and destroy egg masses in winter to reduce the number of hatched caterpillars in spring.
2 – Trap and destroy moths in summer to reduce the number who can breed and start the egg-laying cycle again. Methods include Burlap Banding, Hand-picking, Pesticide use, and Trapping. Read More about each method – City Of London Gypsy Moth advisory.
Gypsy Moths threaten our trees – Upper Thames Conservation YouTube video – How to remove egg masses