Gypsy Moths

Does anyone here have to deal with Gypsy Moths? I know that the northeast has been hammered by them for years, but this year is especially bad…

I’ve dealt with them since I was a kid. I live in Western New York, and am about 20 miles from the shores of Lake Erie. We have had significant issues with Gypsy Moths since the early 1990’s but for some reason, this year they are horrible.

I planted 10 new apples trees, 10 new persimmons and 50 Swamp White Oaks this year. Adding those to the existing orchard, and I have about 150 trees and 50 apple root stocks in a nursery bed. Every tree started exhibiting signs of gypsy moth damage within the week.

The best way I have found to kill these little suckers is with Sevin. It knocks them out quickly, however I am concerned that at some point they may start building a resistance to it. Add in having to wait until blooms are over and you have a delay in control.

I finally got all the trees sprayed, and it rained. Hopefully the spray killed enough of them to greatly reduce their numbers, however they did defoliate about half of my new oaks.

IF you have Gypsy Moths in your area, what, if anything, do you use for controls?

Clarifying, right now we are dealing with the caterpillars, they are between 1/4" and 1/2" long, right between 1st and 2nd stage, where Sevin is most effective.

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Use sticky tape around tree trunks. Traps when they are at moth stage works very well to stop them from reproducing. I traped them last year amd haven’t seen any so far this year.

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Thanks for the reply. I think ill order up a bunch of traps and see how many of those winged devils i can catch!

We get tons every year. I do regular walkarounds, and notice any eaten areas then hand pick them. But they can do a ton of damage quickly. I think the natural predators mostly keep them in check here but sometimes I find a whole blueberry bush defoliated. I’ve never had them kill any of my fruit trees but they definitely set them back on growth and production.

We had them 3 years in a row, 2016-2018. They made pretty bad damage to the forest. Even this year you still can see their effect on the wooded areas. We have mostly oaks in our conservation land near by. Because of the severe leaf damage there are almost no acorns, so squirrels disappeared(guess, where did they go?) Because of all the poop the caterpillars produced(pure nitrogen) the flora changed - the grass started to grow where was just some woodland vegetation. Despite wet summer last year it were no mushrooms, I guess the result of soil chemistry changes…
In the garden, I was on patrol every morning picking new arrivals. I found that spraying doesn’t help much, as in the first stage they really fly with wind using their webs and if it is raining, spray becomes ineffective very fast. But I have very limited number of trees. I really don’t know what would I do on the large scale.

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Which Sevin are you using, new formula (zeta-cypermethrin} or old (carbaryl) ? Just a heads up, Carbaryl is used as a thinning agent on apples, so you may be aborting a lot of fruit using it on Apple and Pear.

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New formula, zeta-cypermethrin.

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I bought some gypsy moth pheromone lures from Gemplers. I am going to make some traps out of gallon jugs using a pattern I found on Google. It seems like the commercially available traps all have a disclaimer about how the traps should be used to monitor adult moth activity only and not to reduce the population.

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Last year Gypsy moths killed an infant Early Joe apple tree overnight, only a few days after it had started to leaf out. Except for that damage was minimal. This year they are a bigger problem. They are quite selective, preferring apple trees over cherry and pear. They haven’t touched the peach trees. The epicenter appears to be an Esopus Spitzenburg.

I’ve learned firsthand that Surround does not deter them. However, it does provide a white background that makes them easier to see to squish. Will be applying Tanglefoot today, but it may be too late for that to be very effective. An orchardist friend recommended Bt, but since my wife used to study Monarch butterflies in Mexico, Bt has been excluded from our organic weapons.

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I have been battling both the brown tail and the gypsy moths in my newly planted apple orchard this year. The gypsy moths especially like the apples for sure. I have had to do twice a day walk throughs looking for any signs of damage and hand pick. I only have about 25 newly started trees so it isn’t terribly hard to do… although that’s not practical in big established trees. To aid my hand picking efforts on my first year grafted trees I allowed a bud to grow low on the rootstock so the caterpillars would stop there first for a meal and not on my newly popped scion buds. I have also tried neem oil and it seemed to be pretty effective on the very young gypsy moth caterpillars, the next day I found dozens laying around dead or very lethargic and not eating. I have not yet used it on the more mature caterpillars but I was thinking of doing so this week. Bt would not be practical in my situation since it needs to be injested and I simply don’t have the foliage to spare!

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I received my gypsy moth pheromone lures from Gempler’s yesterday. They will be used to trap adult male moths in an effort to decrease the breeding population, thus reducing the eggs laid and eventually less caterpillars for next year. In addition to spraying and trapping, I’m thinking of wrapping the trunks of the larger trees to deter the movement up and down the trunks to the ground and canopy.

I really feel that the only effective method to decreasing this vermin is a multi-pronged approach of sprays, trapping, natural predation, and hand picking off young trees.

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Thought id update this thread. I made my first 2 gypsy moth traps using water jugs and gypsy moth lures from gemplers. Within an hour i already caught 3 in each trap. We are just starting to see adult moths now, so im assuming over the next month that these will get busy.

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This is the worst year for gypsy moths since we moved to our current location in 2009. I live in a woodsy area in PA with a lot of oak, so they do not bother my fruit trees. But I am concerned about the damage they will do to my surrounding mature oak forest. I knew it was a bad year for them when I saw lots of caterpillar droppings under a canopy of oaks on my property (first time seeing this). Good luck in your battle.

And the tiny gypsy moth caterpillars must have just hatched and are back attacking our newly grafted apple trees. Seems early.

Saw my first gypsy moth caterpillar here in midcoast Maine yesterday on an apple. It is indeed early…it is also set to be the worst year ever for the invasive brown tail moths as well according to winter surveys. Check those vulnerable grafts people!

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There were years that we had gypsy moth infestation in eastern MA. I have found that BT is very effective with all kinds of moths, including OFM.

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Yesterday I found the first gypsy moth caterpillar on a pluot branch. The oaks haven’t leafed out yet, which is a preferred food source here. I will be spraying trees this weekend, but only the ones that are already done blooming. Unfortunately the apples arent finished yet, so nothing on them until petal drop. I will be trapping again this year, as i did catch a lot of males last year. I think I’ll step up the number of traps though.

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I put on tanglefoot earlier and bought BT today.

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Put on a spray today for gypsy moths. I cant ever remember spraying for insects this early. Last year I sprayed may 27th for gypsy moths, so almost 2 weeks early this year

Second spraying of Bt today. We have reached pretty universal petal fall in the orchard, so I hit some trees I had skipped during the first round. Still need to spray some of the largest trees. Should have bought the larger sized container.

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