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Gypsy Moth

Invasive Species

Lymantria dispar dispar (LDD)

Gypsy moths are invasive pests that lay egg masses that are tan-colored lumps about the size of a nickel or quarter. Each mass contains hundreds of eggs and can be found on trees, buildings and other outdoor objects, including the inside of firewood piles and birdhouses.

In 2021, gypsy moth populations increased for a second consecutive summer due to weather conditions that allowed more caterpillars to survive and become adult moths.


Populations usually grow fastest and are often first noticed on:

Preferred tree species (oak, crabapple, birch, etc.) growing on mowed lawns
Large oaks with rough bark, especially on or adjacent to mowed lawns
Dry sites with sandy soil and abundant oak.


Checking for egg masses helps residents predict the number of caterpillars for the following summer and take necessary action. You can discover more egg masses once leaves have fallen from the trees.

Treating or removing masses in the fall prevents large numbers of eggs from hatching into hungry, leaf-eating caterpillars in the spring. Large numbers of these caterpillars can be a tremendous nuisance that could even kill trees.

To treat or remove egg masses, spray the masses that are safely within reach with horticultural oil or gently scrape them into a container of soapy water to soak for a few days before throwing in the trash. Do not use motor oil or other lubricants, as these can harm the tree and be a pollutant. Old masses with no viable eggs will appear faded and feel spongy when touched.

If weather conditions are favorable again in 2022, the most noticeable increase in caterpillar numbers would likely occur in southern Wisconsin counties, where conditions were driest this past spring and summer.

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Invasive Species From ‘Asia’

Emerald Ash Borer

Since its discovery, EAB has:
Killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in North America.
Caused regulatory agencies and the USDA to enforce quarantines and fines to prevent potentially infested ash trees, logs or hardwood firewood from moving out of areas where EAB occurs.
Cost municipalities, property owners, nursery operators and forest products industries hundreds of millions of dollars.

Pest investigation

Are There Other Invasive Species?

Gypsy Moth

The gypsies are back in town!

Like the wandering groups of old, a band of colourful characters have quietly moved in to the neighbourhood and set up camp in the nearby woodlot. However, rather than provide fortune telling services, these gypsies are busy defoliating the oak trees.


I refer, of course, to the gypsy moth caterpillars which have appeared in high numbers this year and have shown up across the County on trees, patio decks and furniture, walkways, and hitching a ride on your jacket.

They may be tiny when they first begin their ‘walk about’, but in no time at all they can become as big as your little finger. And the forest canopy will diminish at a similar rate.


Gypsy moths are foreigners to North America when looked at from a natural establishment point of view. This species, which is native to Europe, Africa and southern Asia, first arrived on this continent in 1869 being noticed at that time in Massachusetts. It probably arrived as an egg mass stuck on a wood pallet.

So that’s their back story… why be concerned about then now?


During the larval part of their life cycle (more commonly known as a “caterpillar”) they, like all caterpillars everywhere, eat a lot. Some species of moths eat very specific plants, others like these gypsies eat a variety of both hardwood and conifer trees.

Now that’s too bad in itself, the trouble begins when there is a year when their population explodes and they number in the hundreds per tree. All that nibbling and munching soon has the tree looking a tad naked.



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