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.
Identification: Gypsy moths are very easy to identify at all stages. The creamy white, adult female has a wingspan of about 2 inches, however 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/Damage: 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.
Control: Effective gypsy moth control involves fighting these pests at all stages to prevent adults from laying eggs and prevent larvae from defoliating trees and shrubs. GardenTech® brand offers several highly effective products that kill gypsy moths and their larvae by contact and keep protecting for up to three months*:
- Sevin® Insect Killer Ready to Use simplifies spot treatments to target existing gypsy moths and protect small garden areas. Simply shake the product, adjust the nozzle to spray narrow or wide, and spray all your target area thoroughly.
- 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.
- 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. Spray to the point of runoff, covering all plant surfaces thoroughly.
Tip: Seek professional help for treating foliage in trees taller than 10 feet. Focus spraying on groundcovers, shrubs, small trees and tree trunks to kill egg-laying moths and newly hatched larvae before defoliation occurs. Re-apply as needed, but not more than once every seven days.
Always read product labels and follow the instructions carefully.
*These products provide up to 3 month control on all listed insects except ticks.
GardenTech is a registered trademark of Gulfstream Home and Garden, Inc.
Sevin is a registered trademark of Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc.