Gypsy Moths

The following is a request and was sent from one of our OCVN's, Dave Woehr:


Subject: Gypsy Moth Discovered in Cincinnati




SW Ohio Communities,

As you watch for ALB in your communities, please add Gypsy Moth to your monitoring activities.  See Joe Boggs’ message below!

Wendi Van Buren 
ODNR Urban Forester

From: Boggs, Joseph F. (Joe) [
Sent: Friday, June 13, 2014 1:42 PM
To: Boggs, Joseph F. (Joe)
Subject: PEST ALERT: Gypsy Moth in Southwest Ohio

Dear Co-Hort:

A population of the European gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) was discovered this week in the Greater Cincinnati region.  The population is located within the gypsy moth "eradication zone" meaning that the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) has responded rapidly to eliminate this general defoliator in our region.

We Need Your Help

As with the discovery of any non-native pest that is targeted for eradication, there is always the possibility that satellite infestations have developed prior to the discovery of the main infestation.  We need your help with discovering and reporting any undetected satellite infestations.

What to Look For:  Caterpillars

The three images below show the gypsy moth caterpillars as they currently appear in the infestation.  They are nearing pupation, so they are large caterpillars.  Notethat while these hairy caterpillars vary slightly in coloration, a "blue spots - red spots" feature remains constant.  Just behind the head are five pairs of blue spots followed by six pairs of brick red spots.

What to Look For:  Plant Hosts

Oaks are generally considered a preferred host; however, the caterpillars may feed on a wide variety of landscape and forest plants.  Note that the caterpillars in two of the images are on Colorado blue spruce; all spruces (Picea spp.) are susceptible.  Other possible hosts include:  alder, Alnus spp.; aspen, Populus spp.; gray birch,Betula populifolia; white birch, B. papyrifera; hawthorn, Crateagus spp.; hemlock, Tsuga spp.; Japanese maple, Acer palmatum; larch, Larix spp.; linden, Tilia spp.; mountain ash; Sorbus spp.; willows, Salix spp.; and witch-hazel, Hamamelis spp.


Caterpillars are general defoliators; damage will appear as missing pieces of leaves / needles or the complete loss of leaves / needles.  Damage on spruce looks similar to bagworm damage.


If you find gypsy moth caterpillars in Ohio in the Greater Cincinnati region, please report it immediately to either me or John Day, ODA Nursery Inspector.

Joe Boggs:

John Day:

If you find gypsy moth caterpillars in the Greater Cincinnati region in Kentucky or Indiana, please report it immediately to the appropriate regulatory agencies for those states:

Kentucky:  Office of the State Entomologist;

Indiana:  Indiana Department of Natural Resources;

Joe Boggs

Assistant Professor

Ohio State University Extension, Hamilton County

OSU Department of Entomology

Phone:  513-260-1474

Following is a picture of a Gypsy Moth provided by Joe Boggs: