Check nursery plants and containers for gypsy moths now

Adult male gypsy moths are actively flying and females are laying eggs. Scout nursery stock and containers to avoid a problem when shipping plants out of state.

Photo 1. Spruce defoliation by gypsy moth larvae. Photo by K. Eldred, MDARD
Photo 1. Spruce defoliation by gypsy moth larvae. Photo by K. Eldred, MDARD

Adult male gypsy moths have been observed flying around areas in Michigan over the past week and will do so for another week or so. In some cases, the cloud of male moths has been significant. See Photo 1 as a reminder that larvae can cause significant feeding damage to many nursery plants including spruce trees.

Michigan State University Extension reminds nursery growers that female gypsy moth adults do not fly and will lay egg masses on plants and even on the undersides of nursery pots, especially under the lip of the pot where they are observed. It is advised that growers scout now for adult female gypsy moths and begin to look for egg masses. If perimeter trees around your nursery have infestations, examine nursery stock and containers within 100 meters very carefully for the presence of egg masses, and remove them before any plants are shipped (Photo 2).

For updated information on gypsy moth compliance agreements and shipping nursery stock, please contact your Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development plant inspector.

Gypsy moth females

Photo 2. Adult female gypsy moths on branches. Photo by K.Eldred, MDARD

Did you find this article useful?