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Spongy Moth

Spongy Moth larvae

The spongy moth, Lymantria dispar, (formerly known as gypsy moth) is one of North America's most devastating invasive forest pests. The species originally evolved in Europe and Asia and has existed there for thousands of years. In the late 1860s, the spongy moth was accidentally introduced near Boston, MA by an amateur entomologist. Since then, spongy moths have spread throughout the Northeast and parts of the upper Midwest and Great Lakes states including Indiana.

The spongy moth is known to feed on the foliage of hundreds of species of trees and shrubs in North America but prefers oak trees. When spongy moth populations reach high levels, trees may be completely defoliated by feeding caterpillars. Several successive years of defoliation, along with contributions by other stress factors, often results in tree death. Spongy moth can be an expensive, messy problem for homeowners and, when out of control, can cause extensive damage to U.S. forests.

Indiana citizens can help combat this pest by understanding the spongy moth problem and learning about its management. Please use this website as a source of reliable, current information.

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