The Gypsy Moth caterpillar, scientifically known as Lymantria dispar dispar, is a notorious forest pest native to Europe and Asia but has established itself in North America. These caterpillars are voracious defoliators, posing a significant threat to trees and ecosystems. They go through several stages of development, marked by distinct physical changes. Their presence is recognized by five pairs of blue dots followed by six pairs of red dots along their back, and they are known for their capacity to strip foliage from trees, causing substantial damage to forests and shade trees across their range. Effective management strategies are essential to mitigate their impact and protect vulnerable ecosystems.
Identifying gypsy worms can be done through several distinguishing characteristics:
While it can be challenging to prevent gypsy worm infestations entirely, there are some steps you can take to minimize their impact: