Entomophaga maimaiga: A Natural Enemy of Gypsy Moth (E2604)
The gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar L.) is an exotic pest of urban and forest trees. Gypsy moth caterpillars feed on the leaves of oaks, aspens, and many other hard wood and conifer trees. During gypsy moth outbreaks, trees may be completely stripped of leaves. Although gypsy moth caterpillars rarley kill trees by themselves, trees weakened by heavy defoliation may become more susceptible to drought, disease or other insect pests. In addition, the large hairy caterpillars annoy people living or recreating in outbreak areas.
Managing gypsy moth requires the integration of a variety of control tactics. Biological control, the use of natural enemies to control a pest management program for gypsy moth. One biocontrol agent that has recently shown much promise is a fungal pathogen, Entomophaga maimaiga.