Massachusetts
Introduced Pests Outreach Project
Pest Alert: Watch for Winter Moth Damage (April 21, 2005)

Pest Alert: Watch for Winter Moth Damage (April 21, 2005)

Now is the time to begin scouting for winter moth damage on your plants. Researchers from Joseph Elkinton’s lab at UMass have said winter moth larvae are feeding on early leafing species on the South Shore. Known hosts of the winter moth include maple, oak, apple, crabapple, ash, cherry, and blueberry. Winter moth populations have been very high in coastal areas of Massachusetts from Gloucester to the South Shore and out onto Cape Cod. Winter moth has also been observed further inland in Massachusetts including the towns of Brockton, Stoughton, Wellesley, and Newton and in parts of Rhode Island. Since winter moth is already established in eastern Massachusetts, please do not report it with the website’s on-line reporting system.

Young larvae will feed inside the buds of plants moving from bud to bud to feed. Once the buds open larvae will continue feeding on the expanded leaves until they drop to the soil in late May or early June to pupate. Winter moth caterpillars are a pale green “inchworm” with white stripes down both sides of their body. The winter moth will then be out of sight until adults emerge in late November or early December.

Resources on the winter moth:
Photos and information on identifying winter moth can be found on the Massachusetts Introduced Pests Outreach website http://www.massnrc.org/pests/pestFAQsheets/winter%20moth.html

UMass Extension Landscape, Nursery, and Urban Forestry program has posted updated winter moth information.
“Identifying and Managing the Life Stages of the Winter Moth” has excellent information on control strategies and photos of winter moth.
http://www.umassgreeninfo.org/fact_sheets/defoliators/wm_id_man.html

“Biological control of winter moth in Massachusetts” gives an update on the biological control research efforts.
http://www.umassgreeninfo.org/fact_sheets/defoliators/wm_bio_project_05.pdf

“Caterpillars, Caterpillars, Caterpillars, Everywhere: What’s A Person To Do!” will help you sort out winter moth from other caterpillar problems. http://www.umassgreeninfo.org/fact_sheets/defoliators.html.

The pest alert is from the Massachusetts Introduced Pests Outreach Project, a collaborative project between the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and the UMass Extension Agriculture and Landscape Program aimed at preventing the establishment of new pathogens and pests in Massachusetts. Visit the project website (http://www.massnrc.org/pests) for more information on emerging pests or to subscribe and unsubscribe for pest alerts.


Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
Massachusetts Introduced Pests Outreach Project is a collaboration between the Massachusetts Dept. of Agricultural Resources and the UMass Extension Agriculture and Landscape Program. This website was made possible, in part, by a Cooperative Agreement from the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). It may not necessarily express APHIS' views.