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Gypsy Moth damage
(John Obermeyer, Purdue University)
Common Name: Gypsy Moth - damage
See also: adult | larva

Scientific Name: Lymantriidae: Lymantria dispar

Status: introduced pest of hardwood trees

Damaging Stage: caterpillar

Injury: Heavy infestations can be responsible for the complete defoliation of host trees. This damage, however, does not directly cause death for these plants. Defoliation does leave trees susceptible to secondary organisms such as borers and root rots, that are attracted to and kill stressed trees. Caterpillars also may cause allergic reactions in humans. The hairs cause skin rashes, particularly during the month of May, when larvae are small.

Action Threshold: Moderate defoliation is described as 31–50 percent loss of foliage. Trees having this level of damage must be protected using pesticides.

Management: Biological and chemical controls can suppress populations if applied early. Homeowners can also plant gypsy-moth-resistant trees to replace damaged ones.