Messy Neighbors in Ottawa County!

Gypsy moth outbreaks are being observed across the State

Frass from gypsy moth caterpillars

Gypsy moths made their debut in Michigan in 1954 and got quite out of hand during the 1980s and 1990s before an effective biological control was deployed. But in the last couple of years, significant outbreaks have been observed once again, here in Ottawa County and across the State. But if you are blissfully unaware of what ‘frass’ is, then you probably don’t have these unwelcome guests camping out in your trees! During June and July, gypsy moth caterpillars are in a feeding frenzy before they spin their cocoons. And if they are munching all the leaves off of the oak, aspen, and other trees in your yard, well, we know what comes next – poop, or frass, as the scientists call it. And a lot of it.

Gypsy moth caterpillar

While they can be unpleasant to live with, gypsy moth caterpillars are not typically harmful to your trees in the long term. With regular watering, some trees that have been defoliated by these pests will actually re-flush and produce another set of leaves this year! Some landowners may choose to just ride it out, but if you want to take action to get rid of them and learn how you can prevent or reduce outbreaks next year, here are a couple of resources you can check out:

Visit Michigan State University Extension’s Gypsy Moth page
Contact your local forester, Ben Savoie – | 269-908-4134