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|WHAT TO DO ABOUT GYPSY MOTHS IN YOUR BACKYARD|
Gypsy moths in your backyard can be a real nuisance. At high populations, the caterpillars seem to be everywhere. Their feeding stresses and may kill valuable trees. You won't get rid of every gypsy moth in your yard, but you can take some simple steps to cut their numbers.
First, you need to know that you will find gypsy moths in four different life stages, and they all look completely different:
Pupae are similar to cocoons and are present from late June to late July.
Adult moths emerge from pupae in mid July to late July and may be seen until late August.
Egg masses are laid in late July and August and will not hatch until the following May.
Here's what you can do at each life stage:
Sticky bands catch caterpillars as they head up into trees to feed after they hatch, or if they've fallen out of the tree.
When: Early May-late July
Burlap bands catch older, larger caterpillars. These caterpillars crawl down the tree trunk during the day to hide from predators and climb back up as evening approaches.
When: Early June to late July
Egg masses contain about 600 eggs each. Left undisturbed, they will hatch into caterpillars in the spring. Egg masses are roughly tear-drop shaped, 1 inch to 1 1/2 inch long. They are yellowish tan, and look like felt.
When: Late July to early May. It's best to wait until after a hard frost to allow parasites to build up. These parasites may kill egg masses that you can't reach. Also, it is easier to see the egg masses after the leaves have fallen.
Pesticides are effective only against gypsy moth caterpillars - no other life stage. If you decide to treat with pesticides, remember:
Keeping trees and shrubs healthy is the first line of defense against gypsy moths. The second line of defense is making your yard less pleasant for gypsy moths. While the caterpillars will eat the leaves of hundreds of species, they do have some favorites and some that they avoid. Keep this in mind when choosing new plantings for your yard.
Color photos may help you identify the different life stages of gypsy moths. You can check the Website or call toll-free at 1-800-642-MOTH to request color brochures be mailed to you.
Remember, it is NOT a gypsy moth if it is:
Don't move gypsy moths! 20 counties in eastern Wisconsin are under quarantine, meaning that it is illegal to carry items out of the area if they harbor gypsy moths. We can't inspect every moving van or camper, so we're depending on you to check over the wood or lawn furniture you take to your cottage up north, the RV you drive south for the winter, or anything else that might carry egg masses, pupae or caterpillars. Be a good neighbor - inspect.
A joint effort of:
Wisconsin Department of Agriculture
Trade and Consumer Protection
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
U. S. Forest Service
U. S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
University of Wisconsin