Guess the Pest! May 5 Answer: Spongy or Gypsy Moth

David Owens, Extension Entomologist,

Wow, apparently Spongy or Gypsy moth is a popularly despised insect! A lot of folks correctly identified this one. Congratulations Sara Collins and many, many others. Last year it caused significant defoliation in hardwood forest in Laurel, Seaford, and Gumboro. Damage will be evident soon if this year is anything like last year’s infestation. Oak trees are a preferred host and can only tolerate a couple of seasons of defoliation before experiencing significant decline and death. It was first brought over by an artist wanting to breed it with silkworms to create a silk industry. It ranges from North Carolina diagonally up to Minnesota and causes almost a billion dollars of damage per year.

Figure 1: Guess the Pest