About 8,000 orange (Figure 1) or green cardboard traps are being pinned to trees to survey for gypsy moth, a serious threat to forest and landscape trees. The traps, placed in an approximately 2-kilometer grid, contain a pheromone to attract male moths. The inside is coated with a sticky substance to catch moths, but the traps do not contain an insecticide or anything that would pose a risk to people, pets, or wildlife. Surveyors will collect the traps during August.
This is a cooperative effort between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Office of the Kentucky State Entomologist.
Some gypsy moths are found every year in Kentucky. However, there are no established breeding populations. The survey program keeps track of annual moth flight and identifies areas of high activity that are trapped more intensively.
Hosts & Gypsy Moth Characteristics
Gypsy moth caterpillars can feed on more than 500 species of trees and shrubs. Oaks are a preferred host while apple, sweetgum, basswood, gray and white birch, poplar, willow, and hawthorn are also favored. Older instars can feed on hemlock, pines, and spruce.
Caterpillars are recognized by the five pairs of blue dots and six pairs of red dots on their backs. They are also very hairy.
Carl Harper, Office of the State Entomologist and Lee Townsend, Extension Entomologist