Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar) Gypsy moth eggs are laid in clusters of 100 to 1,000 eggs and are distributed throughout a felt-like mat of hair. The egg clusters are usually 3/4 to 1 ½ inches in length, buff-colored, and often attached to tree trunks.
Gypsy moth caterpillars emerge from eggs during late spring (April to May) and go through a series of growth stages. Young caterpillars are about 1/4 inch long and dark brown to black in color. After they emerge they spin silk and drop from branches and leaves to disperse when the wind blows. After landing on another tree or branch they quickly settle and begin feeding and growing. At full maturity they are 2 ½ inches long, dark brown to black in color, and covered with long, stiff, black hairs. Gypsy moth pupae are brown and teardrop-shaped; they are not enclosed in silken cocoons.
Male and female gypsy moths appear in mid-summer and are easily distinguished from one another. The males are brownish-gray in color while the females are slightly larger in size, white in color, and have a few scattered, black markings. Gypsy moths do their worst damage during late spring and summer.
Gypsy moth larvae can devour up to one square foot of leaves a day. When a tree becomes defoliated gypsy moth caterpillars begin to wander in search of fresh foliage. Repeated defoliation of trees over a couple years can cause tree stress and death.
For control products and more information please see our Caterpillars and Moths Control page.