Winter moth is an exotic defoliator from Europe that was first reported in Nova Scotia in the 1930s and eastern Massachusetts in the late 1990s. It has since spread west and south to Rhode Island, Connecticut and Long Island. It has also been found throughout coastal Maine from Kittery to Bar Harbor, and is now in Southern NH. The larvae of winter moth defoliate deciduous trees and shrubs in early spring. Trees heavily defoliated by winter moth for three or more years can exhibit branch dieback and mortality. Preferred hosts include oak, maple, birch, apple, elm, ash, crabapple, cherry, and blueberry. The larvae will feed on many other plants as well. Winter moth is similar in appearance to the native Bruce spanworm (Operophtera bruceata) and fall cankerworm (Alsophila pometaria) and is extremely difficult to tell the species apart.
Winter Moth Pest Alert
UMASS Winter Moth Identification and Management