gypsy moth, south dakota, insect pests, plant destruction
The gypsy moth has been the most destructive insect pest of trees and shrubs in the eastern United States following its introduction in 1869. Large infestations are capable of completely defoliating deciduous trees over extensive areas. Defoliation alters the environment, reducing shade and affecting water quality. Defoliation also weakens trees and predisposes them to attack from other insects and diseases, often resulting in tree mortality. A major annoyance in urban and recreational areas, in addition to the unsightliness of defoliated trees, is the presence of masses of caterpillars and fecal droppings resulting from heavy gypsy moth infestations. In addition, some people are allergic to the irritating hairs of the caterpillars.
McLeod, Murdick, "Gypsy Moth in South Dakota" (2002). SDSU Extension Extra Archives. 298.