Adult Gypsy Moths - Amy Stone


While the caterpillar stage of the gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) and its feeding is a thing of the past, adult moth activity is now being observed in the buckeye state. Populations are not widespread, but rather most evident in pockets or areas within the supression zone. Ohio has three management zones including: suppression, slow-the-spread, and eradication. Each of thoses zones or programs are described below. 

  • TheSuppression Program(in the infested zone) is in areas where the gypsy moth is well established and treatments are performed at the voluntary request of the landowners. 
  • TheSlow-the-Spread Program(in the transition zone) focuses on monitoring, detecting, and reducing isolated populations to slow the gypsy moth's natural movement across the state.
  • TheEradication Program(in the uninfested zone) focuses on monitoring and detecting any populations that may have jumped out ahead of the transition zone, due to artificial movement. Treatments are so designed to "eradicate" the isolated populations.

For additional information on the national perspective of the slow-the-efforts, and how Ohio fits in as part of the larger efforts, check out the website below:  

https://gmsts.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=38cd5cbbb3364b1195e3b812f68d004b

It is important to note that the adults will not cause additional feeding injury this season. Instead, their goal is to find a mate and ultimately lay an egg mass where caterpillars will hatch months from now and will cause feeding injury in 2022! The mass can include up to 500 eggs. Even though the feeding damage is done, now is an important time to determine management plans geared specifically for next year's populations. 

The adults do look different. In addition to their differences in their color, the other major difference is that males fly, during the day in a zig zag pattern, and females do not. The female does give off a phermone that attracts the male. 

Photo: Salp, Karla (AGR)

The egg masses are a 'tool' to help predict future activity. It is also an important part of the suppression application if individial residents or communities are planning to submit an application to the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) to be considered as part of the upcoming year's suppression program.

In addition to the minimum number of egg masses per acre, other requirements of the sppression treatment includes: 

  • Proposed block must be located in a county that has been designated quarantine for gypsy moth by ODA (see map below).
  • Proposed block must contain a minimum of 50 contiguous forested acres.
  • Proposed block must have a concentration of at least 250 egg masses per in residential forested areas or 1000 egg masses per acre in uninhabited forested areas.
  • Proposed block must have a tree canopy that covers no less than 50% of the block.
  • Proposed block must consist of at least 35% of tree species that are either susceptible or slightly resistant to the gypsy moth.
  • Proposed block must receive a favorable T & E (threatened and endangered) Assessment from ODNR and the US Fish & Wildlife Service.
  • There is a 50/50 cost share. Once the block meets requirements, the match is due in 2022. 

Source: Ohio Department of Agriculture 

If you are in an area that you feel could meet the requirements listed above, the application to ODA must be submitted by September 1, 2021. Here is the link to the application: https://agri.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/oda/divisions/plant-health/gypsy-moth-program

Currently, ODA is trapping for male moths with phermone traps. Below is a photo of one of the types of traps that have been set and will be monitored through adult flight. As capture numbers are recorded and shared, another BYGL Alert will be written with additional information. 

If you suspect you are seeing the adult stage of gypsy moth, you can report using the Great Lakes Early Detection Network (GLEDN) app. It is a free app and available for both andriods and iPhones. 


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