LDD Moth (Gypsy Moth)

LDD Moth Larvae
LDD moth (formerly Gypsy moth) Photo credit: DKBDigitalDesigns.com

Remember all those dark, hairy caterpillars that chewed the leaves on your trees last spring?  These are LDD moth (Lymantria dispar dispar), formerly known as Gypsy moth and recently renamed as the Spongy Moth.

The Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry is predicting hotspots of moderate to severe defoliation in areas including those surrounding the Greater Toronto Area

LDD moths reproduce by laying eggs in masses covered in brown hairs and can contain between 100 to 1000 eggs. It’s common to find these egg masses on the undersides of tree branches, tree trunks and even on fences and outdoor furniture.

Newly hatched LDD moth Larvae
Newly hatched LDD moth larvae on egg mass (Photo Credit: Jen Llewellyn)

LDD larvae begin hatching when the trilliums are blooming and the tree foliage is just starting to emerge, usually mid to late May. They hatch over a period of 7-14 days.

LDD larvae will climb to the top of the tree they hatched out on, produce a webby thread and use it to catch the wind in order to relocate to another tree in hopes of being able to feed without so much competition from their egg mass mates.

Ldd Moth Larvae

You can find these black, tiny larvae on everything from trees, patio furniture to people and egg hatch can occur over a period of 7-14 days.

Since newly hatched caterpillars of the LDD moth (formerly Gypsy Moth), can blow in the wind as their primary means of dispersal, egg mass removal on your property may not guarantee an LDD-free spring for your trees. 

Allergic reaction to ldd larvae
The tiny hairs on the LDD larvae can cause an allergic reaction and rash on the skin, especially during a population peak such as 2021.

LDD larval feeding damage starts out as small holes in leaves, gradually becoming larger, with the possibility of entire leaves being consumed during population outbreaks.

Each caterpillar feeds for 4-6 weeks and can consume up to a square meter of leaf tissue in the course of their larval stage. Some of their favorite trees to feed on include oak, maple, beech, birch, linden/basswood, apple, poplar and even spruce.

Most trees recovered from defoliation in 2021, but consecutive, significant losses in canopy in 2022 can put trees health at risk, especially if we have a hot, dry summer.

Red oak and Spruce are much more vulnerable to LDD moth defoliation and may not recover from a second, severe defoliation.

When populations are low, homeowners can reduce caterpillars by collecting and drowning them in a bucket of soapy water.

Contact us for a free quote to treat your trees and protect them from defoliation.

The larval feeding period is usually completed by late June and it is at about this time when they pupate in reddish-brown cases on the surface of the host tree. Adult LDD moths begin to emerge about 2 weeks later, mating and laying new egg masses that will give rise to more caterpillars the following spring.

Call Green Bird Horticultural today at 647-882-8500 for a free estimate to treat your trees and protect them against defoliation from this invasive pest. 

We also have a convenient Contact Form below. Contact us early to reserve your chance to treat this damaging defoliator.

We also can treat for Box tree moth, which is damaging defoliator on boxwood.