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Gypsy moth egg-scraping contest aims to slow invasive species’ spread

Moth is serious threat to Ontario's trees

November 4, 2020  By Turf & Rec

An Ontario-wide contest has been set up to encourage residents to monitor their properties for the presence of European gypsy moth egg masses.

“We’re calling on citizen scientists across Ontario to help us limit the spread of European gypsy moth, one egg mass at a time,” notes the Invasive Species Centre and Eastern Ontario Model Forest, the sponsor of the contest.

The contest calls for members of the community to report sightings of egg masses and properly scrape them from trees. In doing so, they will have the chance to win tumblers and coffee mugs from YETI as well as maple coffee.

The European gypsy moth is native to Europe and is currently established in northeastern United States and eastern Canada. This insect is a significant threat to Ontario trees, and has gained widespread attention over the past year for the heavy defoliation seen across the province. The caterpillars feed on crown foliage of a wide range of hardwood and some softwood trees, which makes it a defoliating forest pest of concern.


Hosts trees include oak, birch, aspen, sugar maple, American beech, and softwoods including eastern white pine, and Colorado blur spruce.

The insect lays its eggs on the trunks and branches of most trees in masses of 100-1,000 eggs during the months of June to the following spring. The Invasive Species Centre and Eastern Ontario Model Forest suggest this is an ideal time of year to begin scraping.


Gloves and protective glasses should be worn while scraping eggs from trees. Eggs are tan-coloured and can be found on tree trunks, bark or other hard surfaces. A butter knife or paint scraper should be used to carefully remove the masses which should then be placed in a container. A mixture of water and dish soap should be used in the container and left for 48 hours before disposal.

Egg masses should be removed after June and prior to the following spring to reduce infestations in years ahead.

The final draw for the contest will be made Nov. 27. To access the contest rules and an entry form, click here.

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