• Common Sense Conservation Since 1938
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To promote the conservation, sound management, and sustainable use of Indiana's wildlife and wildlife habitat through education, advocacy, and action.

Gypsy Moth

The Gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar dispar) is an invasive and highly destructive insect that is seriously threatening North American forests. At least 10 Indiana counties have documented infestations and have been quarantined to prevent the spread of material that may host the moth. See if your county is affected by clicking here.

It takes approximately one year for the moth to complete its lifecycle, but it is during the caterpillar stage that the species causes the most damage. In this 7-10 week period in summer, the Gypsy moth caterpillar will consume a substantial amount of leaf material.(1) This defoliation stresses the trees and causes them to become weak and vulnerable to other diseases and pests. If the stripping is repeated over 2-3 years, the tree will be seriously weakened. 

Although the Gypsy moth will eat from more than 500 species of trees and shrubs, it prefers a handful of species.(2) Click here to see a full list of trees favored by the Gypsy moth caterpillar.

Over 8 million acres of Indiana is covered with either forest or timberland, making it very susceptible to damage from the Gypsy moth. (3) Trees in urban areas are even more vulnerable as they are already weakened by other factors. 

How can you help stop the spread of the Gypsy moth?
  • Protect susceptible trees so they can defend against outbreaks
  • Check for and destroy egg masses which can contain 500-1000 eggs each! This is the most effective control method. Moths like to lay their eggs under lawn furniture, on gardening equipment, on sheds, under playsets, in firewood, etc. 
  • Cover these same items when not in use so the moths don't have a chance to lay eggs.
  • Use a chemical treatment. This should only be done as a last resort or if the infestation is serious. 

Find more details on spoting and eradicating the moth on the Purdue Extension website.

1. http://extension.entm.purdue.edu/GM/index.php?page=home_trees


3. http://www.in.gov/dnr/forestry/2881.htm