Ron Wilson

Ron Wilson

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Spongy Moth - Amy Stone

Spongy moth (Lymantria dispar), formally known as the gypsy moth, is still in its feeding frenzy stage in NW Ohio. Caterpillars can be very evident when populations increase, and the leaves and needles of host plants disappear as the hungry caterpillars cause noticeable defoliation.


Just this week, a report was received from an Ohio resident who observed the caterpillars on the trunk of an ornamental tree in Perrysburg, Ohio (Wood County). 






In Ohio, 51 of the Buckeye State's 88 counties are currently under spongy moth quarantine regulations. Below is an updated quarantine map. 



Source: Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA)




This graphic is borrowed from ODA and depicts the spongy moth life-cycle by month and is a helpful tool if you are not familiar with its stages of development and the timing of it. You will noticed that there is one generation per year with the majority of that time spent as an egg in a mass. Egg masses can be laid on any flat surface. 




Plans are underway for ODA to implement the mating disruption treatment program that is schedule to begin late next week, and possibly into the following week. Treatments dates are subject to change based on the weather conditions. Information including treatment maps can be accessed on their website - both as PDF versions, and a searchable map of the treatment areas. Counties where mating disruption applications will be made include: Auglaize; Fairfield; Hardin; Knox; Licking; Logan; Vinton, and Washington Counties.



The aerial application of the mating disruption, SPLAT GM-O, will be applied in the previously identified areas. Information about the product, including the label, fact sheet and material safety data sheet can also be found on their website. The web address is:



As you travel about in your own county, or across Ohio, you may begin to notice traps being deployed as a continued monitoring effort of spongy moth. Below is a photo of an example of one of the trap types that you may see. 





If you are noticing spongy moth in Ohio, you can report the infestation, including a photo or photos, using ODA's Plant Pest Reporting Tool (, or by using the Great Lakes Early Detection Network App ( 



Management efforts have been successful in slowing the spread of this non-native invasive insect across Ohio and the region thanks in large part to federal and state dollars that allow ODA to monitor and manage populations in the eradication and slow the spread areas in Ohio, and cost share for treatments with property owners in the suppression zone. There are minimum qualifications that must be met for treatments to be applied and this information is described in the application that is on their website. 

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