The gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) has long caused widespread problems with defoliation. The most commonly damaged trees include white oak, black oak, red oak and chestnut trees. Although they can be difficult, there are suppression techniques that have proven effective in controlling the gypsy moth.

About Gypsy Moths

Gypsy moths go through a four-stage life cycle, with one complete generation occurring every year. The life cycle includes the egg, caterpillar, pupal and adult stages of the gypsy moth. In the caterpillar stage, these moths can be identified by five pairs of blue spots that lead to six pairs of red dots. During the adult phase, the moth sports feather-like antennae and an overall creamy color.

Pesticide Control Methods

Most home and garden stores carry many varieties of pesticides that have proven effective in caterpillar control. The drawback to these pesticides is that they may be harmful to the environment, residents of the home or pets that have access to the yard. Apply pesticides per manufacturer instructions.

Natural Control Method

Bacillus thuringiensis is another method to control gypsy moths, caterpillars, leaf beetles and mosquitoes. This product is a crystal protein ingested by the pest. After it is ingested, it releases a toxin that kills the pest. This product is available at home and garden centers and is generally referred to as biologial insecticide or microbial insecticide. Apply this product following manufacturer instructions.