Spongy Moth

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Task Force Members

County Personnel

Jeremy Sobecki                   Parks

Nicole Messacar                  MS4

Amanda Lahners                Health Department

Michael Herrman               Soil and Water

Charity Glaser                     Highway

Randy Novak                       Council President

Sheila Matias                       Commission President


Bill Nelson                           Homeowner (Co – Chair)

Diane Warnke                     Homeowner (Co – Chair)

Scott Keller                          Homeowner

Mark Swistek                      Homeowner

Jeremy Smith                      Business – Bee Keeper

Phil Marshall                       Indiana DNR (Gypsy Moth Expert)

Jim Pressel                          Indiana House Representative

Brian Mann                         Tree Mann Company

Tina Miramontes                Homeowner

Spongy Moth (Formerly known as the Gypsy Moth)

Why talk about the Gypsy Moth?

Lodged as a formal complaint by the public, the Gypsy Moth is an invasive species that eats leaves on trees and can cause serious damage over time, resulting in the death of trees. Without intervention, many trees can become damaged and create hazards to the public. 

About the Gypsy Moth

Other names: Spongy Moth (Formerly Gypsy moth), Lymantria dispar

Where did it come from?

Gypsy moth was imported from Europe in 1869 by a man hoping to cross them with silk moths.

What do they eat?

Gypsy moth caterpillars primarily feed on oak but will move to other host plants if it runs out of oak leaves.

Why is it invasive?

Caterpillars of this moth have large, periodic outbreaks. They can eat all of the leaves on, and sometimes kill, the trees they feed on.

How do you prevent its spread?

When you travel through gypsy moth infested areas or move to a new place, make sure to inspect everything kept outdoors for egg masses. Buy or cut firewood close to where you’re planning to use it. Gypsy moths will lay their eggs on any surface outdoors.

Once gypsy moths have established in an area, it is impossible to completely eradicate them. Instead, homeowners should focus on keeping their vulnerable trees healthy so they will survive infestations and on keeping gypsy moth populations at management levels.

If you live in an area affected by gypsy moths, keep the following points in mind to boost your morale during the ongoing battle:

  • Gypsy moths do not kill trees in one season. It takes 2-3 consecutive years of over 50% defoliation to kill a healthy tree.
  • Healthy trees can withstand up to 30% defoliation for several years in a row with few ill effects.
  • There are many measures that homeowners can undertake both before and after the arrival of the gypsy moth to lessen its impact.

Gypsy Moth (Sponge Moth)

Damage to Trees

Gypsy Moth Eggs

Suppression Program Time line

August – September

  • Announce program to 2023 Suppress Spongy Moth defoliation.
  • Request landowner application – develop an application form.
  • Compare areas in application to 2022 defoliation.

October – December

  • Determine landowners involved in proposed treatment area.
  • Define proposed treatment areas and determine acres.
  • Evaluate areas for criteria to be in treatment program –
    • host,
    • egg mass per acre
    • unique site features
    • safety concerns
  • Prepare contract for bid and bid out to applicators


  • Conduct public meeting to explain proposed treatment.


  • Receive contract bids, select applicator, and determine application costs.


  • Update landowners on program status.


  • Monitor eggmasses for hatch. Usually April 23 +/- a few days.


  • Treatment begins.
  • On average, week of May 9-10, but could be early or late for first application.
  • Second application 4-10 days after first application.


  • Survey treated sites for caterpillars and defoliation.
  • DNR conducts aerial survey.

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