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What You Need to Know About Gypsy Moths

gypsy moth

The gypsy moth, sometimes known as the European gypsy moth, became a prominent pest in the United States after its introduction in the 1800s. While these moths may look pretty, they are also quite destructive. They threaten trees throughout the country, decimating large groups of foliage in a single season. For this reason, it is incredibly important that homeowners spot the signs of gypsy moths right away.

Today, the gypsy moth poses the most serious threat throughout states like Minnesota, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Still, infestations occur in other parts of the country. Even Florida homeowners should be on the lookout for signs of the elusive gypsy moth. While few infestations have occurred in Florida, the southward spread of the bugs means you might notice them.

Gypsy moths might look pretty from afar, but they cause very real issues you should be aware of. Read on to learn more about gypsy moths and what you can do if you spot these pests near your home.

How Do Gypsy Moths Get Around?

Gypsy moths disperse in a variety of methods. Young larvae are able to travel in the wind thanks to small air pockets in their hairs. In fact, they can travel up to five miles per day. Additionally, the female gypsy moths can deposit eggs on vehicles, for instance. This means the eggs can travel hundreds of miles a day.

One gypsy moths arrive on the scene, they look for potential hosts. The trees in Florida they may target include live oaks, loblolly pines, longleaf pines, slash pines, southern red cedar, and water oak species. When left unchecked, gypsy moths can devastate an entire forest. Your back yard could be left with no trees at all in a single season.

What Do Gypsy Moths Look Like?

Gypsy moths can be difficult to identify compared to other types of moths. Adult males have dark brown heads and bodies with black bands around their front wings. The females, on the other hand, are typically white with yellow hairs.

The pupa, larva, and egg of the moth may provide an additional challenge to spot, especially because they look similar to those of other insects. You might see caterpillars climbing up trees or even on items in your yard. Eggs will look like large clusters of small beads.

What Are Signs of Gypsy Moth Infestations?

A gypsy moth infestation leads to the devastating loss of foliage. You may notice trees are covered in excrement in dark pellets. You might even spot the caterpillars on lower trunk levels, or perhaps under rocks and leaves. If your trees look unhealthy, it’s a good idea to call somebody in to examine them.

Even if you don’t have a gypsy moth infestation, it could be something else harmful. Other deforesting pests can cause similar levels of damage.

How Can You Get Rid of Gypsy Moths?

Several methods of eliminating gypsy moths exist. For example, you can scrape eggs from trees and burn them to prevent them from hatching. You can also prevent larvae from climbing foliage with sticky bands.

Chemical control has also been effective at reducing gypsy moths. Unfortunately, some of these chemicals can also prevent the expansion of insects like bees. A professional is the best person to judge if you need to control gypsy moth populations.

Acting quickly is critical for dealing with gypsy moths. Without pest control services, you could see the spread of these dangerous critters becoming more serious in the southeast. Calling a reputable pest control company is the ideal solution for handling gypsy moths.

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