How to kill gypsy moths

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How to kill gypsy moths
Gypsy moth caterpillars will turn in to gypsy moths. (gypsy moth caterpillar image by Jim Mills from Fotolia.com)

The scientific name for a gypsy moth is Lymantria dispar. Gypsy moths are known to be pests to many woodland trees and shade trees. If you have a good amount of trees on your property, you may notice an infestation of gypsy moths. To kill the gypsy moths, you must recognise the stage of life the gypsy moth is in. Each stage requires a different action to kill the gypsy moth.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • 2 cups hot water
  • 3 tbsp dish soap
  • Putty knife
  • Insecticide
  • Plastic zipper bag
  • Plastic bottles
  • Drill
  • Twine
  • Soapy water
  • Gypsy moth pheromone bait

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Instructions

    Egg Stage

  1. 1

    Locate the gypsy moths egg masses. Eggs are laid in July and August. According to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, egg masses take the shape of a tear, are no longer than 1 1/2 inches long, and come in bunches of 600 eggs.

  2. 2

    Mix 2 cups of hot water with 3 tbsp of liquid dish soap in a small bucket.

  3. 3

    Scrape the egg masses off of the trees, leaves, or objects you find them on with a putty knife and drop them in to the bucket full of soapy water. This will prevent the eggs from hatching in to gypsy moth caterpillars.

  4. 4

    Drain out the water and put the egg masses in a plastic zipper bag. Toss the plastic zipper bag in to the trash.

    Caterpillar Stage

  1. 1

    Purchase an insecticide that is effective against gypsy moth caterpillars. Bifenthrin, Carbaryl and Permethrin are all good choices.

  2. 2

    Read the product label on the insecticide you chose, and take all safety precautions necessary. This may include wearing gloves, goggles and long clothing.

  3. 3

    Spray the gypsy moth caterpillars with the insecticide as instructed on the product label. You will find the gypsy moths in the caterpillar stage during the months of May and June.

    Moth Stage

  1. 1

    Remove the label from a clear plastic bottle to begin making your gypsy moth trap. According to the website Gypsy Moth Alert, the best plastic bottles to use bulge at the top. Gatorade and Vitamin water bottles both do this.

  2. 2

    Cut four holes in your plastic bottle underneath the top part that bulges out. The holes should be about 1 1/4 inches long and 3/8 of an inch high.

  3. 3

    Drill a hole in the centre of the bottle lid and then remove it. Thread a piece of twine through the hole and knot it underneath so that it stays.

  4. 4

    Fill your bottle 1/3 of the way up with soapy water.

  5. 5

    Tape a strip of gypsy moth pheromone bait to the top inside of your bottle. This will attract the gypsy moths.

  6. 6

    Screw the lid back on the bottle and hang from a tree with the piece of twine. Empty the plastic bottle of dead gypsy moths and refill. Repeat until you are no longer catching any moths.

Tips and warnings

  • According to the University of Illinois website, wrap burlap around the base of your trees. This prevents the female from laying her eggs.
  • Egg masses contain tiny hairs that have been known to cause a rash on skin. Make sure you are wearing plastic gloves if you intend to pluck them off with your hands.

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