Spongy Moth

Spongy moth (Lymantria dispar dispar), formerly known as Gypsy Moth, is an invasive insect first brought to the United States in 1869. Spongy moth larvae, i.e. caterpillars, feedon tree leaves leading to defoliation. Defoliation can weaken trees and at times kill them outright. Due to these concerns, the MCPC in coordination with the NJ Department of Agriculture, regularly monitors for the presence of spongy moth in the parks. Larval feeding in the spring and summer and the presence of frass (droppings) are noticeable signs, as are egg masses on tree bark in the fall and winter.

Spongy moth populations are cyclic and may rise or fall from year to year. Most years no management is needed, but in years where large populations can result in extensive defoliation of trees, the MCPC may cooperate with the NJ Department of Agriculture’s annual suppression program.

Eastern tent caterpillar (Malacsoma americanum) is a native species that is oftenconfused with spongy moth since it creates noticeable silky “tents” in tree canopiesin early spring, however this species is unlikely to cause widespread damage. Beloware some resources for homeowners. Park users who encounter spongy moth whilein the parks are encouraged to report them to the MCPC Natural ResourcesDepartment.

for more info: https://www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/pi/prog/gypsymoth.html