These articles are written to apply to the northeastern
corner of Illinois. Problems and timing may not apply outside of this
Gypsy Moth Numbers
Up in IllinoisPart 2
April 23, 1998
Gypsy moth is a serious introduced insect pest and numbers
are expected to be high in Illinois this year. Last
week, the gypsy moth and its life cycle were discussed. This week
focuses on what is being done about the problem.
For the past several years, the Illinois Department of
Agriculture (IDA) has been monitoring the gypsy moth in Illinois. Female
gypsy moths cannot fly and release pheromones to attract male moths. Gypsy
moth traps are placed throughout suspect areas. Traps are cardboard and
triangular in shape with open ends. The pheromone is placed inside, along
with sticky material. Male gypsy moths are lured into the trap and then
get stuck inside. IDA staff can monitor traps to determine the presence
of gypsy moths and relative populations.
In 1996, 2,608 gypsy moths were trapped in McHenry, Lake,
Kane, Cook, and DuPage counties. In 1997, that number jumped to 33,714,
with the heaviest moth catches near the shore of Lake Michigan from Evanston
northward. Michigan has had a significant problem for several years, and
numbers also have been high in Wisconsin, especially along Lake Michigan.
When problem areas are identified, the IDA tries to pinpoint
exactly where the infestation originated. Control may involve putting
out more traps, removing egg masses (in winter), and spraying insecticide.
Bacillus thuringiensis, a microbial (bacteria) insecticide is used.
If you suspect gypsy moth, the IDA can be contacted at
(847) 294-4343. Remember, gypsy moth caterpillars do not make silken
tents. You can also bring suspect caterpillars to your local University
of Illinois Extension office for help with identification.
In addition, thoroughly inspect vehicles, campers, outdoor
furniture, firewood, and other items coming from infested areas (vacations,
corporate moves). Look for the buff-colored, hairy egg masses. Don't purchase
trees and shrubs from outside of the area unless they have been inspected
(buy from reputable nurseries).
While numbers of gypsy moth have increased significantly,
this does not mean our entire area will be infested. Authorities are monitoring
the situation and acting accordingly. Citizens and government need to
work together to keep this pest under control.