What Do Gypsy Moths Eat?

This section provides information about which foods gypsy moths prefer.

Gypsy Moth Food Preferences

There are published tables showing which tree leaves the gypsy moths prefer, and which they don't. Two such lists are provided later on this page.

Based on our own experience with trees on our property and others in our neighborhood:

Gypsy moths prefer oaks, white birch, and crab apple.
They like maple and red cedar
They will eat sassafras and sweet gum
They seem to avoid dogwood, magnolia, blue spruce, sour gum, and cherry.

The table below is from the 2007 edition of the ORTHO Home Gardeners Problem Solver.

Gypsy Moth Food Preferences
Most Preferred Somewhat Preferred Least Preferred
Oak Beech Ash
Gray Birch Black Gum Black Walnut
Hawthorn Cottonwood Catalpa
Linden Elm Dogwood
Mountain Ash Hackberry Fir
Paper Birch Hemlock Holly
Quaking Aspen Hickory Horsechestnut
Rose Magnolia Locust
Serviceberry Maple Mountain Laurel
Tamarisk Pine Mulberry
Willow Sassafras Plane Tree
Witch hazel Sweet Cherry Sycamore
Apple, crabapple Sweet gum Tulip tree

The table below is from the Extension Service of the University of Wisconsin.

Gypsy Moth Food Preferences
Favorite Foods Acceptable Meals Won't Touch
oak maple ash
aspen walnut balsam fir
willow chestnut locust
apple and crabapple hickory scotch pine
tamarack cherry red cedar
white birch hemlock tulip poplar
witch hazel elm catalpa
mountain ash hackberry sycamore
basswood black and yellow birch dogwood
linden beech
pine cottonwood
spruce box elder

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