History of Lymantria moth in British Columbia

The Lymantria moth (formerly referred to as gypsy moth) is native to Europe, North Africa, and Asia. The European Lymantria moth is well-established in eastern North America, and is the main source of new infestations in western North America. The Asian gypsy moth has been found in B.C. as well. There is a constant threat that both strains could become established here.

The Lymantria moth in North America

1868:

The European Lymantria moth was first introduced to North America in Medford, Massachusetts. This population eventually spread into Ontario, Quebec, and across the northeastern United States, where the Lymantria moth is now well established.

1911:

The first confirmed Lymantria moths were detected in B.C. as an egg mass on imported seedlings and on ornamental trees from Japan.

1970s and 1980s:

Worrisome numbers of Lymantria moths were found in California, Utah, Oregon, Washington and B.C. These moths were transported to western North America on materials shipped from eastern North America.

1991:

Egg masses and adult male Asian gypsy moths were found in B.C.’s lower mainland.