What You Need to Know About the
European Gypsy Moth
What’s the deal?
According to Purdue Extension, the European gypsy moth has officially made its way into Indiana. The gypsy moth is an invasive species of moth that could potentially inflict irreparable damage to Indiana’s forests. Purdue Extension states that “in 1990, it [the gypsy moth] defoliated over 8 million acres of U.S. forest, and, in 1992, defoliated over 650,000 acres in Michigan alone.”
What should I watch out for?
Gypsy moths are brown [males] and white [females] moths around 1 in. in length. Their defining characteristic is the chevron on their wings that point down to a dot. Males have feathery antennae. Females are incapable of flight. Neither sex lives longer than 10 days as an adult moth.
Gypsy moth caterpillars have small black heads. In order to move around, they spend most of their lives in treetops, being blown from one tree to another by the wind.
What can I do?
In order to combat the spread of the Gypsy Moth, Purdue Extension suggests the following steps:
“Slow the spread. Learn the gypsy moth’s biology, how to recognize its life stages, and where it can be found so you do not transport it to uninfested parts of the state or country.
Maintain tree health. Keep trees watered, particularly during dry periods in the summer. Apply a 2-inch mulch of composted hardwood chips around the base of your tree to avoid wounding trunks with lawn mowers to weed trimmers.
Diversify your new plantings. When designing new plantings, e sure to include a few trees that are less preferred by gypsy moth.”
All information taken from https://extension.entm.purdue.edu/GM/index.php.