Gypsy moths are extremely destructive, invasive pests responsible for extensive tree damage. Left unchecked, the voracious larvae of these moths completely defoliate trees, often leading to tree death. Vast areas of forests and many trees in home landscapes in the Northeast and Upper Midwest have been lost to gypsy moth damage. In heavy infestations, the caterpillars and their droppings leave lawns, favorite sitting spots and outdoor entertainment areas unusable.
Gypsy Moth Identification
Gypsy moths are very easy to identify at all stages. The creamy white, adult female has a wingspan of about 2 inches, but she never flies. You'll find her on tree bark and other surfaces, often above a tan, furry egg mass, sometimes with a smaller, 1 1/2-inch brown male moth nearby. Gypsy moth larvae are unmistakable. Long, light hairs cover the dark, 2-inch-long caterpillars. Five pairs of bright blue spots followed by six pairs of bright red spots line their backs.
Signs or Damage of Gypsy Moths
Gypsy moth larvae feed on hundreds of types of plants, but their damage is most apparent on trees. The impact is dramatic; trees lose remaining leaves completely or look as though fall has arrived. Tree crowns thin and branches die back. Weakened trees are left susceptible to other pests and diseases, and even previously healthy trees may die.
How to Control Gypsy Moths
Effective gypsy moth control involves fighting these pests at all stages to prevent adults from laying eggs and prevent their caterpillar larvae from defoliating trees and shrubs. GardenTech brand offers several highly effective products that kill gypsy moth pests and protect your plants:
- Sevin Insect Killer Concentrate, used with a pump-style sprayer, allows for precision treatments as well as large-scale coverage. Measure the concentrate with the easy-to-use measuring cap, add the appropriate amount of water to your sprayer and mix well. Cover all plant surfaces thoroughly, to the point of runoff. This product kills gypsy moths and their larvae by contact and keeps protecting plants against these pests for up to three months.
- Sevin Insect Killer Ready to Spray simplifies thorough, uniform coverage for larger plants and large areas. Attached to a regular garden hose, this product does the mixing and measuring for you. It kills by contact and keeps protecting against gypsy moth adults and larvae for up to three months. Spray to the point of runoff, covering all plant surfaces thoroughly.
- Sevin Insect Killer Ready to Use2 simplifies spot treatments to kill gypsy moth caterpillars on contact and stop their damage. Simply shake the product, adjust the nozzle to spray narrowly or widely, and spray your target area thoroughly. This product is ideal for quick treatments of smaller garden areas and individual plants.
Gypsy Moth Control Tip: Focus spraying on groundcover, shrubs, small trees and tree trunks to kill egg-laying moths and newly hatched larvae before defoliation occurs. Reapply as needed, but not more than once every seven days. Seek professional help for treating foliage in trees taller than 10 feet.
Always read product labels thoroughly and follow instructions, including guidelines for listed plants and pests, application frequencies and pre-harvest intervals (PHI) for edible crops.