Winter Moths and Winter Moth Caterpillars

What are Winter Moths and Winter Moth Caterpillars?

The winter moth (Operophtera brumata) is a moth that emerges in November and can be active until January. The female winter moth is gray and does not fly. It deposits small egg clusters on tree branches and trunks, and in bark crevices. The male winter moth is light brown or tan and has wings that appear to be fringed. The males are attracted to lights at night. The larvae are pale green inchworms that have a white stripe on each side of the body.

Trees and plants susceptible to winter moth destruction include:

  • Oak
  • Maple
  • Basswood
  • Ash
  • Crabapple
  • Apple
  • Blueberry
  • Cherry
  • White elm
  • Certain types of spruces

In the United States, winter moths have destroyed trees and their harvests from Maine all the way south to Long Island.

The Problem

Winter moth larvae hatch in early spring and immediately begin devouring leaves and fruit. The larvae skeletonize leaves and feed on the newly swelling buds of their host trees. In cases where they attack fruit trees, harvests will be greatly diminished. Depending on the tree type and its health, defoliation and repeated defoliation can severely stress a tree, or even kill it within just a few years. Defoliation also puts trees at risk for secondary pests and diseases.

Signs of Winter Moth Infestation

In early spring, inchworms may be seen inside leaf clusters and buds during the day; at night they can be seen on the outside of leaves
Wingless moths on tree trunks October – January
Devastated flower buds
Skeletonized leaves
Early dropping of petals from fruit trees
Winter Moth Control Options
If you live in an area at-risk for winter moth, Lynch Plant Healthcare can inspect your property and provide proactive winter moth control treatments that can protect your precious trees against this highly destructive pest.

For more information on winter moth control options, call us today for a complimentary consultation from our fully trained and certified arborists. Don’t let a winter moth infestation devastate your landscape. Save your trees from winter moths and winter moth caterpillars by taking the necessary control options available to you.

Lynch helps customers control winter moths and winter moth caterpillars in Wayland, Weston, Sudbury, Wellesley, Natick, Newton, Sherborn, Concord and the surrounding areas in Eastern Massachusetts.

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