How to Get Rid of Gypsy Moth Caterpillars

Many individuals look forward to summer after months of frigid weather. Unfortunately, sunny weather brings with it a slew of bug issues. Crop pests, animal pests, and household pests are all examples of pests.

There has been a recent outbreak of gypsy moth caterpillars, which has caused significant worry. As a result, both governments and farmers have devised strategies for eradicating gypsy moth caterpillars.

These bugs have defoliated millions of hectares of forest and have a voracious appetite. They restrict trees from producing food by eating on the leaves of plants. This makes the trees more susceptible to diseases and pests.

Defoliation can also lead to the death of the tree itself. The caterpillars’ hairs contain histamine, which makes conditions worse. Many people are at danger from this drug since it might induce severe allergic reactions.

Caterpillar, Larva, Galleriinae

How to Get Rid of Gypsy Moth Caterpillars

A Short History

Gypsy moth caterpillars were first transported to the United States in the 1800s for the purpose of silk production. Some people, however, managed to flee Massachusetts and go to other parts of the country, including Florida and eastern Wisconsin. In 1889, the first outbreak of these pests occurred.


The caterpillar of the gypsy moth is the larval stage of the gypsy moth. Because this is when it feeds, this is the most difficult time. A fully mature worm measures around 2 inches in length and has a thick coat of hair.

The five pairs of blue dots, followed by six pairs of red dots, that run along its back are another distinguishing trait. Adult gypsy moths, on the other hand, are usually white or gray in color. Gender influences the color variation.

They also have wings that are one to two inches long. Female gypsy moths, on the other hand, do not fly. These pests have the ability to lay up to 1000 small whitish eggs that are difficult to see.

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Caterpillar, Moth, Book, Boxwood Moth


The female gypsy moth guards her eggs by covering them with her body hair after laying an egg mass. Shortly later, the moth dies. During the winter, the eggs are left out, and when spring arrives, the hatching process begins.

The black-headed moths then climb to the tops of the trees and begin eating the leaves. They migrate from plant to plant using their silk webs. To avoid predators and high temperatures, these larvae eat at night from late April to mid-June.

When the caterpillar reaches adulthood, it stops eating and transforms into pupae. After a 7 to 10 day period, they mature into adult moths.


Female gypsy moths lay their eggs in the bottom of tree branches or healthy tree barks before dying. They appear to have chosen dwellings and other man-made structures as ideal laying grounds as well. This could explain why the number of gypsy moths in residential areas is increasing.

Ornamental plants are another breeding site. They are likely to be present in your yard if you have a lot of plants in your garden. Look for egg masses or the moth caterpillars themselves when researching a probable infestation in your yard.

Green, Worm, Closeup, Tree, Stick

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How to Get Rid of Gypsy Moth Caterpillars

Insecticides are the most efficient technique to manage the gypsy moth population. In forest settings with a closed canopy, this is more practical. There are, however, different options available if you’re looking for solutions for your yard or garden.

Treatments for large groups of eggs

Gypsy moths lay hundreds to thousands of eggs in a single clutch. The destruction of eggs before they hatch has a profound impact on population management. At the end of the winter, look for egg masses in plants, outside property such as play equipment, and furniture.

Place the egg masses in a plastic bag after scraping them with a putty knife. Empty them into soapy water and leave them to soak for a day or two.

Another method of killing the eggs is to spray the egg masses with a special horticultural oil solution. Golden Pest Spray Oil is a fantastic example of such a remedy.

You can also produce your own by smothering the larvae with a mixture of water and soybean oil in a spray bottle.

Banding of trees

Some larvae are likely to migrate down the tree during the day in search of shelter. The key is to keep them from reaching the foliage. Although banding may kill some caterpillars, it does not guarantee that the infestation will be significantly reduced. Burlap bands provide a safe haven for the worms.

Wrap a burlap band around a tree that is a few meters above ground level. Make careful to check the bands between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. every single day Using a knife, cut the caterpillars out and place them in soapy water.

Their hairs should be avoided because they can create an allergic reaction. To control gypsy moth caterpillars more effectively, utilize an Eradicoat banding kit. To catch them, you can also use tangle foot adhesive.

Kiefernschwaermer, Caterpillar

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The easiest technique to get rid of these pests is to use biological or chemical pesticides. However, hiring a professional who knows how to get rid of a gypsy moth caterpillar is recommended.

This is owing to the health risks posed by the larvae and chemicals. He or she will advise you on the most effective insecticide to use and when to apply it.

Make use of natural enemies.

Natural enemies such as birds, mice, diseases, and parasitic wasps prey on gypsy moth caterpillars. Install bird feeders or birdhouses in your yard to attract birds and provide a place for them to rest. Blackbirds, catbirds, cuckoos, and blue Jays are among these birds.

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Remove any items that could be utilized as breeding grounds from your yard to keep it clean. Remove any dead branches, old wood, or mulch from the area.


If left untreated, these pests can cause enormous plant loss. As a result, the best strategy to prevent the moth from spreading is to take steps to prevent its emergence.

If you already have them in your garden, the best way to get rid of gypsy moth caterpillars is to act quickly.

Collin Miller

Since 2002, Collin has specialized in the pest control industry. He has a Pest Control and Termite Control Commercial Applicator License. He serves on the Missouri Pest Management Association board of directors as a director at large, and he attempts to provide a personal touch in pest eradication to customers in the Ozarks. When the weather is great, Collin enjoys working in his yard, cooking, and hanging out with family and friends, as well as watching football.

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