Gypsy Moth Caterpillars are a deciduous tree’s worst nightmare. This non-native pest was introduced into the United States between 1868 and 1869 and has been responsible for massive defoliation of trees throughout the Northern Hemisphere.
Gypsy Moth Caterpillar Lifecycle
The female Gypsy Moth deposits eggs in a mass that can contain from 75-1,000 eggs. Once the eggs hatch between mid-April to June, the caterpillars spread by wind when they’re very young, hanging from silken threads they spin. The larvae become active in mid-late May, with the heaviest feeding beginning in early June through the beginning of July. Adult moths can begin laying eggs in mid-summer, perpetuating the lifecycle.
The Impact of Infestation
Gypsy Moth Caterpillars can defoliate trees quickly–in as short a period of 4-6 weeks. Defoliation is a great stressor on trees, increasing their vulnerability to other diseases and problems that can potentially lead to their decline and eventual removal. This can incur considerable cost to homeowners, and impact the overall aesthetic of the landscape.
While the caterpillars feed mostly on hardwood trees (oak and hickory, particularly), they will feed on any plant depending on where their eggs were laid and the severity of the infestation.
The Importance of Prevention
It’s imperative to begin preventative treatments for Gypsy Moth Caterpillars between April and early June, before heavy feeding begins. Be sure to call us here at Farmside today to set up your Gypsy Moth Caterpillar prevention treatments. Let us help you keep your beautiful trees healthy and green!
For a beautiful PDF printout of Gypsy Moth information, please click here!