If you don’t remember the Gypsy moth infestation of the 80’s, you will be introduced to this insect in the Spring. Last year we saw pockets of Gypsy Moth infestation in the Topsfield area and surrounding towns. As their population increases, more and more local areas can expect tree damage from these nasty pests.
The following description is from U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Insect Leaflet 162:
The gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar Linnaeus, is one of the most notorious pests of hardwood trees in the Eastern United States. Since 1980, the gypsy moth has defoliated close to a million or more forested acres each year.
In 1981, a record 12.9 million acres were defoliated. This is an area larger than Rhode Island, Massachusetts,and Connecticut combined.
A single gypsy moth caterpillar can eat a square foot of leaves a day. Although trees have a second set of leaves ready to replace those they lose, this takes significant energy. Three or four years of complete defoliation can result in the death of even a large tree. In wooded suburban areas, during periods of infestation, when trees are visibly defoliated, gypsy moth larvae crawl up and down walls, across roads, over outdoor furniture, and even inside homes.
Gypsy Moths emerge about one month after Winter Moth/Cankerworms, another ferocious feeder, extending the caterpillar feeding season by at least a month.
How to Treat for Gypsy Moths:
Gypsy Moths are treated in the same way as Winter Moth/Cankerworms, by spray or injection. If you are treating your trees for Winter Moth/Cankerworms, an additional 1 or 2 treatments may be needed to protect your trees from Gypsy Moths.
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