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Gypsy Moth Suppression Program

Posted on: September 5, 2013

[ARCHIVED] Gypsy Moth Egg Count Beginning

Workers from the Roscommon County Gypsy Moth Suppression program will begin their annual count of egg masses starting Thursday, September 5, 2013 and running through November; possibly into December. Each staff member will be wearing a blue vest with the words “GYPSY MOTH” printed in white letters on the front and back. The staff also will have proper identification to show that they represent the program. Gypsy Moth Coordinator Lucille Eisbrenner said, “resident’s should not remove egg masses from their property until next April, since egg masses must be counted while still in place to qualify property for spraying next May or June”.

The gypsy moth survey crew’s will only survey parcels of land that have on file a returned, signed permission form from the landowner who has granted permission for checking by returning the signed permission form. Staff is instructed to get in, check the area and move on. If you have questions about the permission form or the surveying of your property please contact the Department at the address and/or phone number below.

Roscommon County’s Suppression Program is funded by the renewal of a 10 year millage in August 2010 and appears on your winter tax bill. The money collected from the millage funds the gypsy moth surveying and any spray treatment done by aircraft in the spring. The millage money collected is only used for gypsy moth and cannot be used for general fund or special projects.

The gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar, is one of the most serious insect threats of forest, woodland, shade trees and landscape plants in the United States. It is originally from the temperate regions of Europe, Asia and North Africa. In 1869 the gypsy moth became established in North America after escaping in Medford, Massachusetts during an unsuccessful breeding attempt with native silkworms. Since then it has spread to other parts of the country, including Roscommon County, and is continuing to move south and west. The caterpillars can be annoying. Although they feed on vegetation, large caterpillars will wander onto the house, garage, patio, deck, yard furniture, or any object associated with residential living. When they do this in large numbers, especially after stripping trees of foliage, the experience can be unpleasant and upsetting. Unhealthy trees are weakened when defoliated making them susceptible to other insects and disease problems that can kill them.

The gypsy moths life cycle begins in late summer to early fall when the female moth lays its egg mass. The female is a creamy white, with a wingspan of about 2 inches. The male is smaller and camouflage brown with black mottling. Both have an inverted black “V” on their forewings. Since the female cannot fly, she will lay her egg mass close to where she was in the pupa stage. She emits a chemical odor to attract the nearest male for mating. Males mate several times before dying. The female lives about a week. Feeding on foliage ends once the caterpillar transforms into the pupa and moth stages.

Gypsy moth eggs are intertwined in a matting of hair from the females’ body. This hair is a good insulator and makes the egg very water repellent and non-susceptible to cold weather. The mass may be laid in various sizes, color and usually tear-drop shaped. Depending on the mass size each 1 might containing from 50 to 1500 eggs which will begin hatching the following spring. Egg masses might be found in such places as the undersides of branches, tree trunks, stone walls and fences, rock piles, under eaves, dead tree bark and inside bat and bird houses. They can be brought to your house on automobiles, trailers, campers, mulch and firewood. The best time to remove an egg mass would be around the first of April 2014 before it hatches. To destroy the mass simply scrape it into a bucket of soapy water, let it soak for a day or 2 and then dispose of it.

For further information (free of charge) about gypsy moth, including a permission to check your property form, color brochures illustrating various life stages, and what to do in woodlots or around the home, contact the Coordinator at:
County Building
500 Lake Street
Roscommon, MI

Phone: 989-275-7135
Fax: 989-275-3170

Additional Information
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