FINAL DAY OF BUSINESS: SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2021

Gypsy Moths - What You Need to Know

2 min read

Gypsy Moths - What You Need to Know

It's been a banner year for the gypsy moth population!

Gypsy Moths are considered invasive defoliators, and they have been busy defoliating most trees in the neighbourhood. They are a pest, and can be harmful to our trees if they're allowed to repeatedly weaken a tree.

  • Gypsy moths like oak, birch, aspen, beech, balsam fir, colorado spruce, to name a few
  • The eggs often overwinter on the bark of trees
  • They look like fuzzy, tan-coloured masses
  • The eggs hatch in the spring, and the larva climb the trees to eat the leaves
  • Early on, they eat during the day, but mature caterpillars feed mainly at night
  • Mature larvae are 50mm long, dark coloured and hairy, with spots
  • They are typically done feasting on the leaves in July, when they transform into moths
  • In late July, females lay eggs, for the cycle to begin the following spring
  • Outbreaks occur every 7 to 10 years, depending on weather conditions and predators

 

Some people may show allergic reactions to gypsy moths. Wear gloves and long sleeves when working outdoors, and do not use the clothesline to dry your clothes.

 

How to treat an infestation

There are a few different approaches to treating an infestation of Gypsy Moths.

Spray: you can spray with BTK, a biological pesticide. It affects the digestive systems of caterpillars and is best applied between May and June.

Lures & Traps: a hanging trap that lures in the males using female moth pheromones, and prevents mating

Wrapping burlap around trees to capture caterpillars

 

Prevent

  • Remove the fuzzy, tan-coloured egg masses from trees during fall and winter months and destroy.
  • Throwing them on the ground still allows for eggs to hatch. Dispose of them by throwing into soapy water for at least two days.



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