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Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
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European Gypsy Moth

The European gypsy moth is a threat to our trees and shrubs. Learn to spot it and report it.

The European Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar or EGM) is native to Europe and first arrived in the United States in Massachusetts in 1869. This moth is a significant pest because the caterpillars have voracious appetites for more than 300 species of trees and shrubs, posing a danger to North America's forests. The caterpillars defoliate trees, leaving trees vulnerable to diseases and other pests and can eventually kill the tree. Early detection is critical to limiting the EGM's spread.

  • EGM is currently found in Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
  • EGM is considered particularly high risk in Kentucky.
  • See Nationwide Quarantine Map for Details

The gypsy moth prefers approximately 150 primary hosts but feeds on more than 300 species of trees and shrubs. Some of those include:

  • Aspen
  • Birch
  • Cedar
  • Cottonwood
  • Fruit trees
  • Larch
  • Oak   
  • Poplar
  • Willow
  • Nursery stock
  • Christmas trees
  • Logs
  • Pulpwood
  • Wood chips
  • Mobile homes and associated equipment
  • Outdoor furniture
  • Barbecue grills
  • Firewood
  • Dog houses
  • Boats
  • Recreational vehicles
  • Trailers
  • Garbage containers
  • Bicycles
  • Tires
  • Tents
  • Awnings
  • Garden Tools
  • Household items stored outside
  • Visible egg masses: covered with buff or yellowish hair from the abdomen of the female and averages about 1-1/2 inches long and about 3/4 of an inch wide
  • Visible caterpillars: newly hatched caterpillars are black and hairy. Later stages of the larvae develop a mottled yellow to gray pattern with tufts of bristle-like hairs and a distinctive color pattern of five pairs of blue dots followed by six pairs of red dots along their backs.
  • Visible adult moths: male moths are brown with a darker brown pattern on their wings and have a 1-1/2-inch wingspan. Females are slightly larger, with a two-inch wingspan, and nearly white with dark saw-toothed patterns on their wings.
  • Defoliated trees
  • Know the quarantines in your area and learn to leave Hungry Pests behind especially if you're moving. Learn more.
  • Report findings of egg masses on trees, lawn furniture, fences, walls or elsewhere on private property to Federal or State agriculture officials.
  • Cooperate with all restrictions that might be imposed locally because of an EGM detection.
  • Allow authorized agricultural workers access to property to install and inspect insect-monitoring traps.


What's at Risk from the European Gypsy Moth:

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