An official website of the United States government.

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites always use a .gov or .mil domain. Before sharing sensitive information online, make sure you’re on a .gov or .mil site by inspecting your browser’s address (or “location”) bar.

This site is also protected by an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate that’s been signed by the U.S. government. The https:// means all transmitted data is encrypted — in other words, any information or browsing history that you provide is transmitted securely.

European Gypsy Moth

View all resources
European Gypsy Moth
European Gypsy Moth, Pinned specimen of adult European/North American female (top) and male (bottom); USDA, APHIS, Plant Protection and Quarantine Archives
Scientific Name: 

Lymantria dispar Linnaeus (ITIS)

Common Name: 

Gypsy moth, European gypsy moth (EGM)

Native To: 

Europe (CABI)

Date of U.S. Introduction: 
Means of Introduction: 

Imported for silk production (Smithsonian 1999)

Impact: 

Defoliates trees (Smithsonian 1999)

Spotlights

USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Effective immediately, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is adding Eau Claire and Richland Counties in Wisconsin to the list of quarantine areas for gypsy moth (GM). The GM populations in these counties have reached the threshold to trigger the quarantine expansion. To prevent the further spread of GM, the attached Federal Order (PDF | 186 KB) establishes Eau Claire and Richland Counties in Wisconsin as quarantine areas. Effective immediately, all interstate movement of GM-regulated articles from Eau Claire and Richland Counties must be handled in accordance with the attached Federal Order. Wisconsin has established a parallel state quarantine.

Entomological Society of America.

Names change marks launch of Entomological Society of America (ESA) effort to review, revise problematic insect common names. The ESA has removed “gypsy moth” and “gypsy ant” as recognized common names for two insect species in its Common Names of Insects and Related Organisms List.

The changes are made in conjunction with the launch of a new ESA program to review and replace insect common names that may be inappropriate or offensive. Entomologists, scientists in related fields, and the public are invited to participate in identifying and proposing alternatives for insect common names that perpetuate negative ethnic or racial stereotypes.

Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets.

Many people in Vermont are encountering gypsy moths (GM) for the first time. This invasive species arrived in the United States over 100 years ago and has been expanding its range ever since. They can be significant defoliators (leaf eaters) of trees and shrubs. They prefer oak trees, but when there are a lot of caterpillars around they will eat any type of leaf, including maple and pine. Vermont has not seen an outbreak of GM since 1991. At that time a fungus called Entomophaga maimaiga became prevalent in the area and significantly decreased the GM population. But the dry weather that we’ve experienced over the last few years has not been good for fungi, and the absence of fungi has allowed the GM numbers to increase.

USDA. Blog.

If you are moving this year from a location within the gypsy moth quarantine area to a location outside the quarantine area, please inspect outdoor household items for pests. This is a federal requirement for homeowners moving from gypsy moth quarantine areas.

By complying with the law, you may also save a forest. Gypsy moths are destructive, invasive pests! European gypsy moth larvae feed on over 300 plant species including oak, aspen and elm. Gypsy moths have defoliated more than 83 million acres in the United States since 1970. About 70% of susceptible forests have never been infested and are at risk.

Distribution / Maps / Survey Status

USDA. FS. Northern Research Station.

Select the non-indigenous forest pest to view maps depicting state and county distribution. Produced by: USDA, FS, Forest Health Protection, and its partners.

University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.
Provides state, county, point and GIS data. Maps can be downloaded and shared.
USDA. APHIS. Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey. National Agricultural Pest Information System.

Federally Regulated

U.S. Government Printing Office. Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.

U.S. Government Printing Office. Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.

USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

See what states have a federal quarantine for any of the targeted Hungry Pests, and identify which pests or diseases are at greatest risk due to a suitable habitat. In addition to federal quarantines, state-level quarantines might apply see State Summaries of Plant Protection Laws and Regulations (National Plant Board).

Images

University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.

Videos

Google. YouTube; Washington State Department of Agriculture.

Google. YouTube; University of Massachusetts - Amherst.

Selected Resources

The section below contains highly relevant resources for this species, organized by source. Or, to display all related content view all resources for European Gypsy Moth.

Council or Task Force

Alberta Invasive Species Council (Canada).

See also: Fact Sheets for more information about individual invasive species, including those listed as "Prohibited Noxious" and "Noxious" under the Alberta Weed Control Act

Partnership

USDA. Forest Service; Southern Regional Extension Forestry. Forest Health Program.

See also: Gypsy Moth for more resources

National Plant Diagnostic Network.

You can become a more effective First Detector by familiarizing yourself with invasive target pests and pathogens known to exist in the U.S. If you think you have encountered one of the species or disease complexes listed, report its presence.

Nature Conservancy. Don't Move Firewood.
IUCN. Species Survival Commission. Invasive Species Specialist Group.
Slow the Spread Foundation, Inc.
Slow-the-Spread (STS) is a preventive project funded as part of USDA's (Forest Service and APHIS) national strategy to manage the gypsy moth in the United States. Note: Survey maps

Ontario's Invading Species Awareness Program (Canada).

Federal Government

USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

It's the Law -- If you are moving from a gypsy moth quarantine area to a non-quarantine area, you must inspect your outdoor household items for the gypsy moth and remove all life stages of this destructive insect before you move.

USDA. ARS. National Agricultural Library.

This collection of publications in NAL's Digital Repository provides access to and addresses a number of topics concerning the gypsy and the related brown-tail moths, from biological control methods to tree banding to quarantine practices. The bulk of the documents were published from 1891 to 1923 by various agencies in the area of the initial infestation, including the State Board of Agriculture for Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island, but also include some more modern USDA publications.

USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

USDA. FS. Forest Health Protection.

The USDA program to manage Lymantria dispar is a partnership with the Forest Service, APHIS, and state partners, to suppress outbreaks in the generally infested area, eradicate isolated infestations in the uninfested area, and slow the spread along the advancing front.
See also: The Lymantria dispar Digest for a database containing information about gypsy moth defoliation and treatments at the national level. Treatments include those funded by the Suppression, Eradication, and Slow The Spread (STS) programs.

USDA. APHIS. Plant Protection and Quarantine.
International Government
Natural Resources Canada. Canadian Forest Service.
State and Local Government

Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Forest Service.

See also: Includes Invasive Plants and Insects Fact Sheets for additional species to help control invasive species in Maryland

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Missouri Department of Conservation.
See also: For more information about Invasive Tree Pests (insects and diseases) that are not native to Missouri

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Illinois Department of Agriculture.

Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Plant and Pest Services.

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection.

Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Plant Industry Division. Plant Protection Section.

Ohio Department of Agriculture.

California Department of Food and Agriculture. Plant Health Division. Pest Detection/Emergency Projects Branch.

Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Entomology and Plant Pathology.

Academic
University of Minnesota.
IPM of Midwest Landscapes is available for educating growers, landscapers, managers, and consumers in the principles of IPM and its application to managing the over 150 common insect species in Midwest landscapes.

Michigan State University. Integrated Pest Management Program.

See also: IPM Scouting in Woody Landscape Plants for more pests and diseases (Publication E2839)

Kansas State University. Kansas Forest Service.

University of Massachusetts Extension. Landscape, Nursery, and Urban Forestry Program.

Purdue University. Entomology. Extension.
University of Wisconsin - Extension.

University of Illinois. Extension.

Columbia University. Center for Environmental Research and Conservation.

Citations

  • Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Lymantria dispar. [Accessed Feb 28, 2015].

  • CABI. Invasive Species Compendium. Lymantria dispar (gypsy moth). CAB International. [Accessed Sep 14, 2019].

  • Smithsonian Institution. 1999. BugInfo: Gypsy Moths. Department of Systematic Biology, Entomology Section, National Museum of Natural History. Information Sheet 36.