Gypsy moth larvae #869761

Asked May 23, 2024, 11:19 AM EDT

Is there a home recipe that can be sprayed on gypsy moth larvae? Something that will kill them immediately. I know BT products can be sprayed on the leaves but I was hoping to mix up something myself. Do these caterpillars have a cycle? Meaning that after so many years they may just die off. Any help you can provide will help. Thanks- Larry

Kalamazoo County Michigan

Expert Response

Check out the MSU gypsy moth/spongy moth website.  There is quite a bit of information there about GM outbreaks. Outbreaks usually last 3 or maybe 4 years, but a virus disease (NPV) will eventually cause the outbreak to collapse.  For a DIY control option, soapy water will kill the caterpillars.  It's best if you can knock them into a bucket and let soak in the soapy water (e.g., Dawn dish soap) for a couple of days.  You can also put a high pressure nozzle on the end of a garden hose and blast as many larvae as possible off the tree trunks, sides of your house, etc.  Then step on as many as possible - if the high P spray doesnt kill them, your foot should.  Be careful with oils or vinegar or other so-called DIY options - some of those can harm the tree or at least burn the leaves. 

An Ask Extension Expert Replied May 23, 2024, 4:19 PM EDT

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