The city of Upper Sandusky has sprayed for Gypsy Moths. We are 5 miles north...

Asked July 15, 2014, 11:04 AM EDT

The city of Upper Sandusky has sprayed for Gypsy Moths. We are 5 miles north of that area. We have 8 acre of woods. At this time of year what would we be looking for? A worm or a moth? What type of damage? Would there be anyone we could get to come check our woods? Can we get our woods sprayed? We have lost a lot of trees to the emerald ash bug. I hope to save our woods from this moth.

Wyandot County Ohio

1 Response

Habitat: These moths, in all stages, are found in hardwood forests. Eggs are laid under tree limbs, bark, rocks and structures. Once the eggs hatch the larvae (caterpillars) begin their defoliation of the trees in order to feed themselves.

Range: The current gypsy moth range in North America (which has been spreading since 1900) includes all of the northeastern United States reaching as far south as parts of eastern Virginia and west to include Michigan and parts of West Virginia and Ohio. The projected spread of the moth is about 21 km per year to the west and south.

Reproduction: The caterpillars of gypsy moths hatch from eggs in mid-spring. These caterpillars are capable of feeding on 300 different types of trees and shrubs but they seem to prefer oaks. Both male and female caterpillars pass through five and six stages before entering the pupal (resting) stage in early to mid-summer. This pupal stage lasts for about 2 weeks.

The adult female lays eggs in masses covered by buff hairs from her abdomen. The egg masses resemble small pieces of chamois on tree trunks and the undersides of branches, under loose bark and in tree cavities. They also cling to things under or near trees, such as outdoor furniture, boats, trailers, vehicles, toys, camping equipment, piles of wood and lumber.

In the spring, numerous tiny caterpillars hatch from the eggs. By midsummer they are fully grown, about six to seven centimetres long, dark and quite hairy. Each has a double row of tubercules along its back, usually five pairs of blue and six of red (but sometimes all black or blue).

The pupae are dark reddish brown, usually with a few yellowish hairs. You can easily tell male from female pupae as the female ones are much larger.

Adults emerge during the latter part of July and on through August. The male moths emerge one or two days before the females. After emergence, the females emit a chemical (pheromone) that attracts males and then mating occurs. After mating, she lays 100-1500 eggs, which pass the winter and hatch the following spring.

The male (a strong flier) is brown, with a small body and well-developed wings. The female is white with black markings on her wings, and much larger. Despite her well-developed wings, she cannot fly and moves only a short distance from her pupal case—she relies on a scent to attract a male.

It would be good to call your local extension office:

Wyandot County Extension

109 S. Sandusky Ave., Room 16

Upper Sandusky, OH 43351 Phone: 419 294-4931

You can report any findings to them and ask what treatment they are using at this stage in the infestation.