Your Opinion: Not a Gypsy moth, and not harmful
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
The moth shown on the classified page on June 14 is not a Gypsy moth. It is a Polyphemus moth commonly found in Missouri and considered harmless. It is generally a night flyer attracted to house lights usually after 10 p.m. It is a large moth. The male has large feathery antennae that senses the presence of female moths. The adults have no mouth parts and do not eat. The moth generally rest with their wings folded and when startled the wings flash open and the large eye spots startle the predator.
The Gypsy moth is much smaller and is a white moth. It is destructive to all deciduous trees and in considered a dangerous pest to Missouri hardwood forests.
They are not common to Missouri but their population spread in constantly monitored by the Missouri Department of Conservation by the use of moth traps. They are called Gypsy because of their habit of attaching their egg masses to the hidden undersides of vehicles that have traveled in infested areas in the eastern states.