Bulletin E2700
Natural Enemies of Gypsy Moth: The Good Guys!


April 14, 1999 - <mccullo6@msu.edu>

Note: The Governing Board of the Entomological Society of America elected to change gypsy moth to spongy moth in early 2022. The transition to the new common name will likely be a multi-year process. To maintain consistency for those who have been dealing with this pest, several of our outreach materials may include the previous common name, gypsy moth.

“Natural enemies” refers to the predators, parasitoids and pathogens that affect pest insects such as the gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar L.). These natural enemies are important in helping to control gypsy moth outbreaks and in keeping populations low in the years between outbreaks. One reason why gypsy moth is a much greater problem in North America than in its native lands is that many of its important natural enemies were left behind when gypsy moth became established here.

Some natural enemies of gypsy moth will be familiar to you; others, such as insect parasitoids and pathogens, may be less well known. They all play important roles, however, in helping to limit the damage and annoyance caused by gypsy moth. Some of the natural enemies that affect gypsy moth are native to North America. Others were deliberately introduced from Europe, Asia, India and northern Africa, where gypsy moth is native, by federal agencies involved in biological control programs. 

The goal of this bulletin is to help you learn to recognize some of the important natural enemies that may help control gypsy moth in your area. This bulletin will also give you suggestions on tactics to conserve or protect natural enemies of gypsy moth on your property.



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