NHBugs

Protecting trees and forests

Gypsy Moth

Female gypsy moths and their egg masses on tree bark. Photo by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Female gypsy moths and their egg masses on tree bark. Photo by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

 

 

The gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) is an important defoliating insect of hardwoods in New Hampshire. A native of Europe and Asia (though we don't think we have the Asian varieties), the gypsy moth was introduced into North America in 1869 when specimens were accidentally released in Medford, Massachusetts. Gypsy moth is an outbreak pest and can remain at low levels for several years and then numbers can rise every few years. Many might remember the outbreaks in the early 1980s and 19902. Unless areas are actively monitored, even moderate gypsy moth populations can exist unnoticed. Although these cycles are influenced by numerous factors, the low populations in New Hampshire in recent years generally are believed to be the result, at least in part, of a gypsy moth disease caused by the fungus Entomophaga maimaiga.

Recent outbreaks of gypsy moths in southern New England and some small populations in a few southern New Hampshire towns are worrisome. Forest health specialists are monitoring the situation. We will add updates here as they become available. Last updated November 2, 2016.

The Basics
Gypsy moth fact sheet (UNH Cooperative Extension)
Gypsy moth pest alert (U.S. Forest Service)
Gypsy Moth Management in the United States: A Cooperative Approach
European Gypsy Moth page from Hungry Pests

Other Information
'Pray for a Wet Spring' (Eagle Tribune article, 10/30/2016)
Check your lawn furniture and outdoor toys for gypsy moth egg masses before moving or taking a trip
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Gypsy Moths Send Forest Animals Packing (video)

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