The gypsy moth is a non-native, invasive species that has been advancing into Ohio from Pennsylvania and Michigan over the past decade.
In its caterpillar stage, it feeds on the leaves of over 300 different tree and shrub species and is especially fond of oak.
A healthy tree can usually withstand only two years of defoliation before it is permanently damaged or dies.
To date, 51 of Ohio's 88 counties have established gypsy moth populations.
There are three defined zones in a spreading infestation.
One is the "Infested Zone", in which the pest population is well established and colonies overlap. The second zone is the
"Transition Zone", in which isolated pest populations have developed, but are not generally overlapping. The third zone is the
"Uninfested Zone", in which no pest populations have developed.
(Diagram supplied by STS Decision-Support System)
The Ohio Department of Agriculture operates three programs aimed at managing the gypsy moth in Ohio. The three programs mirror the three zones defined in a spreading infestation.
The Suppression Program (infested zone) is in areas where
the gypsy moth is well established and treatments are performed at the voluntary request of the landowners.
The Slow-the-Spread Program (transition zone) focuses on
monitoring, detecting, and reducing isolated populations to slow the gypsy moth's movement across the state.
The Eradication Program (uninfested zone) focuses on monitoring and
detecting any populations that may have jumped out ahead of the transition zone.
Treatments are so designed to "eradicate" the isolated populations.