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Good Time To Get Rid Of Gypsy Moths: DNR


Within the next few weeks, a species that in large enough numbers can do major damage to forest will be laying eggs, and property owners are reminded to be on the look out.

Gypsy moth eggs should start hatching in a few weeks. Property owners are urged to treat or remove egg masses now to help protect high-value trees and reduce future caterpillar populations.

DNR Forest Health Specialist Bill McNee says periodically the moth's number spike and can become a tremendous nuisance to homeowners and can defoliate susceptible tree species which may kill them...

"..The Gypsy moth caterpillars will start hatching in northern Wisconsin in late April or early May. Property owners can look ahead of time for the egg masses before they hatch to determine if they'r going to have a problem in their trees and, if so, take some action ahead of time to take action before the egg masses start hatching. Typically a homeowner can take the egg masses within reach and drown them in soapy water for a few days or treat the egg masses with a horticultural oil that will suffocate the eggs...."

The tan-colored lumps are about the size of a nickel or quarter and may be found on tree trunks, the underside of branches, buildings, firewood piles and other outdoor objects. Each mass may contain 500 to 1,000 eggs.

McNee says statewide, populations are currently low, although isolated trees and locations may have high populations.

"..When Gypsy moths periodically increase to very high numbers there's enough of them to feed off susceptible tree species such as oak, aspen or willow. This can be very stressful for a tree and may kill it if it has existing problems..."

European gypsy moths were first found in Wisconsin in the mid-1970s in the eastern part of the state. Moths have been found in every county.

Additional information about management options for homeowners, including sticky barrier bands and burlap collection bands, is available at the Wisconsin gypsy moth website: gypsymoth.wi.gov

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