Massachusetts
Introduced Pests Outreach Project
Pest Alert: Massachusetts Winter Moth Update for 2006 (April 18, 2006)

Pest Alert: Massachusetts Winter Moth Update for 2006 (April 18, 2006)

Residents of eastern Massachusetts witnessed large winter moth flights this winter and should be prepared for large numbers of winter moth caterpillars this spring. Winter moth is a relatively recent introduction to Massachusetts. This moth was first identified in Plymouth County, Massachusetts in 2003 although this pest has probably been in the area for years. In 2005 winter moth had been observed in the greater Boston area, North Shore, South Shore, most of Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. UMass Extension has updated their publications to provide information on the biology and management of this insect. http://www.umassgreeninfo.org/fact_sheets/defoliators/wm_overview_07.pdf
They also have another publication to help distinguish the different caterpillars defoliating your plants and determine appropriate measures for their management. http://www.umassgreeninfo.org/fact_sheets/defoliators/caterpillar_update_06.pdf

This past winter Massachusetts was one of several states in New England to participate in a delimiting survey for the winter moth. A pheromone synthesized by the USDA, APHIS, PPQ Otis lab was used to attract moths to a trap with a sticky bottom. Cooperators from USDA, APHIS, UMass, and state departments of agriculture and forestry set traps outs across New England. Identification has been a tricky issue handled by Dr. Joseph Elkinton’s lab at UMass. The pheromone attracts both the winter moth and the native Bruce spanworm. Specimens recovered from sticky traps need to be painstakingly dissected or analyzed with molecular techniques to determine the species of moth captured. The survey showed that winter moth is more widespread in Massachusetts than observed in 2005. The pheromone traps drew in moths as far west in as Worcester and all the way to the New Hampshire border. Winter moth has been confirmed in 9 counties (Essex, Middlesex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Plymouth, Bristol, Barnstable, Dukes, and Worcester). Winter moth is also established in Rhode Island.

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 Winter Moth and other 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.