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Gypsy Moth Management



The Gypsy Moth Problem


The gypsy moth is an invasive species meaning the moth is not native to the United States.  The moth has few natural predators so with plenty of food, the moth proliferates and quickly spreads to become a wide-spread pest.  Many areas in the United States and Eastern Canada have been impacted by the gypsy moth and despite control measures, the moth persists. 


Gypsy moths prefer feeding on oak trees.  The moth, however, can feed on 600 different species of trees as many species of vegetation do not have natural defenses that repel the moth.  In Michigan, the moth has impacted tree stands in every county in the Lower Peninsula and in many areas in the Upper Peninsula.  Michigan forests are susceptible to gypsy moth infestation because they are comprised of preferable trees for the moth such as oak, maple, poplar, birch, willow, and crabapple. 



Life Cycle



Gypsy moth larvae (caterpillars) emerge in the spring from egg masses that were laid by females the previous fall.  After emergence, gypsy moth larvae consume an immense amount of foliage during the summer months.  Larvae pupate near the end of the summer for up to 10 days after which the female has two weeks to mate and lay egg masses during the early-fall.  One egg mass can contain up to 1500 eggs. 



Gypsy Moth Control in West Bloomfield


The Township has made considerable effort to control the spread of the gypsy moth and and have implemented an effective management program since 1993.  From 1993 to 2002, the program was directed by a private consulting firm and hotspot areas throughout the Township were treated with an aerial spray and fungus inoculation.  In 2003, the Township Board voted for the management program to be directed by the Environmental Department.  Spring aerial sprays and fall egg mass monitoring occurred in 2003 to 2005.  Due to the success of the program as well as fiscal limitations, only fall egg mass monitoring occurred in 2006 and will occur in 2007.


Gypsy Moth Monitoring and Spray Sites



2003-2006 Gypsy Moth Status Throughout the Township



Treatment has successfully reduced the number of gypsy moth metapopulations in West Bloomfield Township, limiting the area in which they can live and reproduce. The density of egg masses at each sampled site has decreased, reducing the impact that Gypsy Moths will have on vegetation. Areas that still have high egg mass densities are typically heavily wooded areas, such as protected woodlands, and areas that may have an edge effect resulting in decreased treatment and increased migration. The figures below show the data collected from 2003 through 2006. Approximately 164 sites were surveyed in the respective years. The slight increase in the Gypsy Moth population from 2005 to 2006 may be attributed to cyclical fluctuations that occur normally in insect populations over time.





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