The European gypsy moth has an exceptionally broad host range (>250 species). For the Asian gypsy moth, the host range is even broader. Oaks, poplars, willows, lindens, birches, and apple, are preferred hosts by both forms. In addition, larches, elms, and persimmon, are highly preferred by this insect. Larch and broadleaf trees are preferred by Asian gypsy moth. However, other conifers growing in mixture with preferred hosts can be defoliated during high insect densities.
The Asian gypsy moth is of great concern due to its potential for rapid establishment and spread. The pest can cause severe damage to trees over a large area; heavy infestations may result in repeated and complete defoliation of trees. The ability of the Asian gypsy moth females to fly long distances (up to 25 miles) makes it probable that the Asian gypsy moth could quickly infest and spread throughout the United States. Defoliation can kill trees directly or reduce vigor leading to secondary insect infestation or disease infection, also resulting in tree death. As well as having direct economic effects on commercial forestry and horticulture, Asian gypsy moth has the potential to reduce the aesthetic, recreational and biodiversity values of parks rangelands and wilderness areas.
The Asian gypsy moth is not known to occur in Indiana.