Pest Guides

Gypsy Moth

Lymantria dispar

Appearance

Gypsy Moth Image
  • Caterpillar: 1/8”-2” long. Mostly black with some yellow marks. Older caterpillars develop 5 pairs of blue bumps and 6 pairs of red bumps on their backs.
  • Pupae: Brown tear-dropped shaped silk cocoon that is 1-2” long.
  • Adult: Male 1” long with fuzzy antennae. Females 1-1/2” long with thin antennae. Both have v-shaped wings.

Lifecycle

  • One generation per year
  • The eggs are laid in early autumn and do not hatch until late April
  • The caterpillar stage is about 40 days
  • The pupae stage is 10-14 days
  • The adult stage is 6-10 days
  • Adults die shortly after they mate/lay eggs

Habits

  • Female gypsy moths lay their eggs in hidden places like cracks in tree bark or under picnic tables. They lay one fuzzy egg mass that contains 500-1,000 eggs.
  • When the caterpillars hatch, they climb to the tops or the trees and are carried by the wind to other places.
  • Caterpillars can defoliate entire plants if not noticed.
  • Adult females cannot fly.
  • Adults do not feed.

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