Seems like we just get used to one problem when another one appears on the horizon. The European gypsy moth has been defoliating trees across the Northeast United States for several decades. We are just beginning to get a handle on this pest and now, an Asian gypsy moth has been introduced and it poses even greater challenges.

The Asian gypsy moth was first found in North Carolina in 1998 on a ship carrying cargo from Germany. Three types of moth were eventually found on the ship including European gypsy moth, Asian gypsy moth and hybrids of the two. Other outbreaks have been found in the Pacific Northwest too.

Female European gypsy moths do not fly. They basically stay at the place where the caterpillar stopped and pupated. This helps minimize their spread.

Asian gypsy moth females are strong fliers. They may fly as far as 25 miles from where they lived as a caterpillar. This could cause rapid movement across the country. This new pest also eats a wider variety of hardwood and conifer species than the European gypsy moth.

So far, the original outbreaks of the Asian gypsy moth have been eradicated before they could move very far. The USDA has stepped up its efforts at excluding further introductions by close inspection of any shipping from infested areas of Europe or Russia. Hope they do a good job!


Note: We have provided some general information and observations on this topic aimed at the home gardener. Before you take any serious action in your landscape, check with your state's land grant university's Cooperative Extension Service for the most current, appropriate, localized recommendations.


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