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

Scientific Name: Lymantriidae: several species

Status: pest of forest and shade trees

Damaging Stage: caterpillar

Injury: Newly emerged larvae first feed on the plant tissue in between the leaf veins. However, as they grow and develop, they soon devour all but the main vein and the petiole. Tussock moth larvae attack more than sixty species, but the common hosts are maple, horse chestnut, birch, apple, sycamore, poplar, linden, elm, rose, fir, and larch.

Action Threshold: Larvae are usually insignificant pest insects, but certain seasons may warrant control measures. There is no established action threshold, but monitoring should be strict in areas that tend to have tussock moth infestations.

Management: In homes, caterpillars can be knocked off walls and ceilings into buckets of soapy water. Outside, caterpillars can be removed from trees with tweezers and knocked into water buckets, though the people doing this are advised to wear long-sleeved shirts to prevent caterpillar hairs from irritating the skin. Insecticides are usually not necessary to control tussock moths.