Gypsy Moth Adults Take Flight

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The caterpillar feeding frenzy has ended for the year and adult activity is being observed in NW Ohio. The male moths have taken flight in their zig-zag pattern in hopes of finding a mate. The female moths are white and a bit larger in size, and typically don't move far distances from the pupal casing that they emerged from. She gives off a pheromone to alert close by males of her location. After a visit from the male moth, she will begin laying eggs. The mass of eggs laid now, will remain in that stage until the following spring, as there is one generation per year. 


Egg Mass, Female Gypsy Moth (White) and Male Gypsy Moth (Brown)
Photo Credit: Amy Stone, OSU Extension - Lucas County


It is the same pheromone "fragrance" used in the lure, placed in the traps set and monitored across the buckeye state by the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) (see photo below). The data collected from those traps will help as a guide for the state program, that is part of a larger national program coordinated by the USDA Forest Service. Traps monitor the progression, or maybe even regression, of the leading edge and also alert regulators to "hot-spots" that could be building in a particular area. 


Gypsy Moth Trap
Photo Credit: Amy Stone, OSU Extension - Lucas County


Adult activity, and more importantly number and size of the egg masses, are tools to help determine what is on the horizon and can aid in predictions of how populations number look for the 2020 season. 


For additional information about the gypsy moth and state coordinated suppression treatments, check out the ODA website at: