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GYPSY MOTH

“Invasive” refers to a species, like the Gypsy Moth, that has moved outside of its native habitat and threatens the new environment, economy or society by disrupting local ecosystems. "Defoliator" refers to species that eats leaves.

HOST SPECIES

Hosts range from Oak, Birch and various hardwoods such as Sugar Maple, American Beech and softwoods such as Eastern White Pine and Colorado Blue Spruce in Southern Ontario.

CHARACTERISTICS AND LIFE CYCLE

• Over winter in the egg stage begins, often on the bark of trees.
• European Gypsy Moth spend the winter as partially developed larvae in eggs.
• The eggs hatch in spring, and larvae ascend the trees to feed on the new foliage.
• Initially, feeding occurs during the day, but as the caterpillars mature feeding occurs
  also at night — this can delay the detection of infestations.

See diagram of the Cycle of the Moth.

SYMPTOMS AND DAMAGE

• Gypsy moth outbreaks generally occur every 7 to 10 years.
• Larvae chew holes in leaves or devour entire leaves. Under

  story shrubs and plants may also be affected.
• Egg masses can be observed on the trunks and branches

  of infected trees.
• During severe outbreaks, trees and shrubs are completely

  defoliated over large areas; despite the trees’ ability to

  produce a new crop of leaves over the summer, the damage

  causes significant growth loss.
• Defoliation makes trees more susceptible to secondary

  pests, drought, and poor growing conditions.

 

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