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What is a Gypsy Moth?

The gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar, is not a native to the US but was introduced in the 1860's from Europe in the hope of developing a hybrid silk worm.  When some of these moths escaped they found the US a suitable habitat and have been expanding their infestation ever since. The gypsy moth is now one of the most notorious pests of hardwood trees in the eastern half of the US.
Gypsy Moth Life Cycle

Gypsy moth undergo four developmental life stages:
  • egg
  • larva (caterpillar)
  • pupa
  • adult.

Commonly Asked Questions

How do I know if I have a Gypsy Moth problem?

Look for tan or buff-colored masses underneath the branches of trees, on the side of houses or on outdoor objects like sheds, rocks and swing sets.

These masses house between 500 - 1,000 gypsy moth eggs.  These eggs hatch into  caterpillars in April.

HSS has a qualified gypsy moth program coordinator with 11 years experience surveying gypsy moth for county & state programs. 

The survey is free of charge and will let you know if your infestation is severe enough to require aerial treatment.

What do Gypsy Moth eat?

Gypsy moth prefer oak trees but they will accommidate their tastes to almost all foliage   including evergreens and schrubs.
What does a Gypsy Moth Caterpillar look like?

Gypsy moth caterpillars are easy to identify, they have 5 pairs of blue dots followed by six pairs of red dots lining their back.  In addition they are dark colored and covered with hairs.
Why do I need to treat?

When  a gypsy moth caterpillar emerges from its egg mass it has a voracious appetite and will eat all green vegetation in sight!

What is the best way to treat my
gypsy moth problem?

The best way to treat heavily wooded areas that have been infested with gypsy moth  is by applying Bt pesticide with agricultural aircraft during the caterpillar stage of the gypsy moth.
What is Bt?

Bt is a naturally occurring strain of Bacillus Thuringiensis spore.  Bt is highly specific to gypsy moth caterplillar. The Bt must be ingested by the caterpillar to be effective.

Bt has been approved by the FDA to be used on organic produce up until the day of harvest.  Because it is so specific it is a safe product to use around people and animals
How do I make sure my property is included in the Gypsy Moth Program?

CALL HSS AT 616-837-6979

We will make sure to help you get organized so your property  can be treated if it is needed.
When will my property be treated?

Treatment for gypsy moth is very dependant on the weather and development stages of the caterpillar but historically treatment  starts in mid to late May.
What is the cost of the program?

Aerial treatment does require a minimum amount of acres to be effective.  If your property does not meet the minimum amount of acres needed we can group neighbors and/or subdivisions together to  provide you with cost effective treatment options.

Please contact the office 616-837-6979 for a quote.
How do I know it worked?

Because of the nature of Bt you will not notice an immediate kill of caterpillars.  First the caterpillars must consume the leaf with the Bt on it and after time the caterpillars will die.  You will also not see a complete kill.  What the Bt does is reduce the number of gypsy moth so that the damage is less and the population stays in a manageable number.