Gypsy moth numbers are on the rise. The increase in numbers have the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) changing it’s strategies from last summer. The new increased efforts by IDOA included a Gypsy Moth Quarantine. IDOA’s goal with the quarantine is to reduce the populations and slow the spread of the Gypsy Moth. You can read more about the quarantine and whether it affects your county on the Illinois Department of Agriculture website.
Now as your local pest control company, we at Green T want to inform about the gypsy moth, and the damage that it can cause to your property. This will help you understand the need for the IDOA quarantine.
The life cycle of a Gypsy Moth
Through it’s complete life cycle a gypsy moth will go through four different stages in life; egg, larva(caterpillar), pupa, and adult. Egg masses appear as 1.5 inch tan or buff-colored hairs, on tree trunks, and even on your outdoor furniture. A female gypsy moth can lay between 500 to 1,000 eggs in sheltered areas such as underneath the bark of your trees. The egg stage of a gypsy moth life cycle is how the gypsy moth overwinters. In April the eggs begin to hatch into caterpillars.
Gypsy moth caterpillars are one of the easiest caterpillars to identify. They have five pairs of blue dots followed by sick pairs of red dots lining the back, they are dark in color and are hairy in appearance. Depending on the age of the caterpillar they either feed day or night, which means these caterpillars are eating your trees around the clock. Young caterpillars spread to new locations by crawling to the top of the trees.
Gypsy moth caterpillars enter a pupal or transitional stage. The pupae are dark brown, shell-like cases. It takes about 10-14 days for the adult Gypsy moths to emerge from the pupae. Females have white to cream-colored wings, a tan body, and a wings span of two inches. Males only have a wing span of 1.5 inches, they differ in color from the females being dark-brown and have feathery antennae.
Gypsy moths only have one generation per year.
Related: Spring Pests Alert!
Damage Caused by a Gypsy Moth
Tree damage is cause by the gypsy moth caterpillars. The caterpillars move tot he leaves of trees and begin to eat, mostly at night. Feeding continues until mid-June or early July when the caterpillar enters the pupal stage emerging, finally as a moth.
Gypsy moth caterpillars tend to feed on tree leaves of the maple, elm and particularly the oak. They will also feed on apple, alder, birch, poplar and willow trees. Depending on the degree of the Gypsy moth infestation, tree damage can range from light to almost complete defoliation. Continuing attacks can fatally weaken a tree or leave it vulnerable to other insects and diseases.
Need help protecting your trees? Call Green T today to learn about our tree and shrub program as well as our pest control program!
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