Photo by Karla Salp, Washington State Department of Agriculture, Bugwood.org
What is a Spongy Moth?
Formerly known as a Gypsy Moth, a Spongy Moth (Lymantria dispar) is a non-native insect from France.
The spongy moth can be an annoying pest in residential, urban and rural areas as well as forests. Spongy moth caterpillars, the immature “larval” stage, feed on the leaves of more than 300 species of trees. They favor oak trees, but many other tree species are also good hosts.
During an outbreak, the density of spongy moth caterpillars can be so high that many host trees are heavily or even completely defoliated. The abundance of large, hairy caterpillars and the resulting rain of frass (fecal pellets) from infested trees is unpleasant and can be distressing, especially for people who have not experienced a spongy moth outbreak before.
In order to help minimize the effects of the Spongy Moth in our area, Patton Township has carried out the aerial spraying of BTK insecticide on Tuesday, May 16th, 2023 within 1250 acres of wooded neighborhoods.