Spring caterpillar hatch can be decreased without using chemicals by finding and also eliminating the egg masses indigenous which the caterpillars hatch.

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Gypsy moth larvae eating leaves. Picture credit: man H. Ghent, USDA forest Service, Bugwood.org

Every spring eastern tent and also gypsy moth caterpillar it seems to be ~ to show up out of nowhere to feeding on the pipeline of ours Michigan trees. This post is the second of 2 written through Michigan State University extension that give review of the caterpillar – moth life cycle and also how and where to find and also remove egg masses in an effort to provide non-chemical control choices to landowners.

Gypsy moth caterpillars, Lymantria dispar, are renowned in some parts of Michigan for your voracious appetite of specifically oak, but likewise basswood, aspen, to apologize crabapple and willow tree leaves. Gypsy moth caterpillars, like most caterpillars, feed on the pipeline of details trees while lock are occurring through your caterpillar stages before eventually pupating right into a moth. The defoliation they achieve in a single year deserve to be alarming, and may contribute to the stress a tree is experiencing. Their feeding is not normally fatal come a tree unless much more than 50% the the pipeline of a tree are eaten for every of 3 consecutive years. The caterpillars can be messy, however, as they drop increasing amounts of frass, or fecal pellets, together they molt, or burned skin, to flourish bigger.

Once caterpillars with the maturity, lock pupate for about 10-14 days in ~ a tough shell the the caterpillar locates in a corner, or crevasse, or within the ridges the the bark of a tree. The gypsy moth emerges, and quickly finds a mate. Females climate lay your eggs and also die shortly after. Because the female moths can not fly, and the caterpillars travel mostly by making use of silk strings and the wind, the egg will usually be set on or close to the residential or commercial property from which it hatched. Depending on the location, egg laying is complete by mid-September.


Gypsy moth laying eggs. Photograph credit:Hannes Lemme, Bugwood.org

While the woman moth is laying the eggs, she plucks hairs turn off of she abdomen and also mixes it in v the eggs. The result is a small mound of caterpillar eggs and also hair that have the right to survive even a north Michigan winter. In fact, in Roscommon County, gypsy moth egg hatched also after suffering harsh winters through temperatures under to an adverse 30 degrees.

The masses of eggs are generally blond come brownish in shade and around the size of a silver dollar, though not as uniformly circular. Egg masses can uncovered just about anywhere ~ above a property, especially in dark protected locations choose bird houses, under decks or eves, undersides that lawn chairs and also picnic tables, travel, cargo or watercraft trailers and on just around anything sitting about outside consisting of firewood. Through the years gypsy moth has ‘hitched a ride’ on few of these objects and also expanded their Michigan range. Just an additional reason to examine all vehicles because that egg masses every spring and also to “buy it where you burn it,” and also not move firewood.

Prevention v removal

Because the following year’s populace is had in the egg masses, a non-chemical alternative for manage is removal and disposal of the egg masses. The timing of egg massive removal depends on if the ar in which girlfriend live has a gypsy moth regulate program. If that does, best to eliminate egg masses in the spring, ~ the manage program has performed surveys to find egg masses in an initiative to guess the following year’s caterpillar populations and also determine matching treatment areas. Gypsy moth control surveys space usually excellent in the fall, and it is essential that the surveyors room able to gain a true counting of gypsy moth populations.

If the ar you live in go not have actually a control program, take into consideration removing egg masses as you view them from September – April, before hatch occurs. Every egg mass deserve to contain anywhere in between 50-1,500 egg of caterpillars, so removal deserve to be the best way to eliminate these messy caterpillars in her landscape. If you miss out on some eggs and also find gypsy moth caterpillars next year, there are extr methods that control. One is the usage of obstacle bands, or product that intercepts the caterpillars as they relocate up and also down the tribe of the tree.

Gypsy moth is a non-native pest the has adjusted to Michigan forested landscapes. Come learn an ext about other non-native pest the are established or have actually yet to arrive in our Michigan woodlands visit Michigan State college Extension’s Invasive species Page.

Other articles in this series

Eliminating egg masses now will protect against leaf eat caterpillars next spring.

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This write-up was released by Michigan State university Extension. For an ext information, visit https://extension.betterworld2016.org.edu. To have actually a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit https://extension.betterworld2016.org.edu/newsletters. To call an professional in your area, visit https://extension.betterworld2016.org.edu/experts, or speak to 888-betterworld2016.orgE4MI (888-678-3464).