Gypsy moth caterpillars are eating leaves; here's what to do

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Gypsy moth caterpillars are eating leaves; here's what to do

Michigan Department of Natural Resources forest health experts are getting reports of oak, aspen and maple trees losing leaves to gypsy moths in the southwestern and northeastern parts of the Lower Peninsula.

The gypsy moth is an invasive species that caused widespread defoliation in the state from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s. This year, defoliation is likely to become visible within the next few weeks in localized outbreak areas and persist through mid-July.

“Gypsy moths are a nuisance but rarely kill trees,” said Scott Lint, forest health expert with the DNR’s Forest Resources Division.

Keep defoliated trees healthy by making sure they get water; avoid damaging tree roots and bark. Trees should begin to develop new leaves in July to replace those that were eaten.

Check out this update from Michigan State University Extension about gypsy moth caterpillars this season; additional resources are below.

For additional questions, contact Scott Lint at

Invasives ►

Gypsy moths are one of many plants, insects and animals that are invasive species in Michigan. Learn more about them.

Info from MSU ►

The bulletin "Dealing with Gypsy Moths Around Your Home and Property" offers plenty of tips for homeowners.

Forest health ►

Each year the DNR assesses diseases and pests that threaten forests and urban trees. Read the 2019 report.