Spongy Moth

Actual Size: Typically ranges from 1.5 to 2.5 inches

Characteristics: Spongy moth adults have white wings marked with dark wavy bands on the forewings and a series of dots on the hindwings. Female spongy moths are larger and bulkier than males. Caterpillars (larvae) are hairy and can vary in color from light tan to dark brown, with five pairs of blue spots followed by six pairs of red spots along their back.

Legs: 6

Wings: Yes.

Habitat: Spongy moths are found in various habitats, including forests, urban areas, and suburban landscapes. They prefer hardwood trees such as oak, aspen, willow, and birch but can also infest conifers under certain conditions.


  • Defoliation: Spongy moth caterpillars have a habit of feeding voraciously on the foliage of trees, stripping them of their leaves. This behavior can weaken or kill trees, particularly during outbreaks when large numbers of caterpillars are present.
  • Mass Egg Laying: Female spongy moths lay their eggs in large masses on tree bark or other surfaces. These egg masses can contain hundreds of eggs and are a key feature in the spongy moth’s reproductive strategy.
  • Nocturnal Activity: Adult spongy moths are primarily nocturnal, with their peak activity occurring during the nighttime hours. They are attracted to lights and may be observed flying around outdoor light sources during the evening.


Spongy Moths in your area

Spongy Moths, also previously known as Gypsy moths, are a common pest found in forests, urban areas, and suburban landscapes across North America and parts of Europe. They are known for their distinctive white wings marked with dark wavy bands. Spongy moth caterpillars can defoliate trees by eating their leaves, causing significant damage to forest ecosystems and urban landscapes. Infestations can lead to weakened trees, increased susceptibility to disease, and aesthetic degradation of affected areas.

Spongy Moth Habitat

Spongy moths prefer hardwood trees such as oak, aspen, willow, and birch, but they can also infest conifers under certain conditions. They thrive in temperate climates and are commonly found in wooded areas, parks, and residential neighborhoods where suitable host trees are abundant. Spongy moth populations can vary from year to year, with outbreaks occurring periodically and causing widespread defoliation and tree mortality in heavily infested areas.

Spongy Moth Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Spongy moths pose significant threats to forest health and urban landscapes due to their destructive feeding habits. Caterpillars feed voraciously on the leaves of host trees, defoliating large areas and weakening trees over time. This can lead to reduced tree vigor, increased susceptibility to secondary pests and diseases, and ecosystem disruptions. Female Spongy moths lay their eggs in large masses on tree bark or other surfaces, contributing to population growth and the spread of infestations. Management efforts often involve monitoring populations, implementing control measures such as biological control agents or insecticides, and educating the public about Spongy moth prevention and management strategies. If you notice signs of Songy moth infestation in your area, contact your local pest control experts for assistance.