(WFRV) – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is asking the public to help in looking for and getting rid of egg masses produced by gypsy moths.

According to officials, gypsy moths are an invasive species that lay egg masses about the size of a nickel or a quarter. The egg masses are tan-colored lumps. Each of the masses contains hundreds of eggs and normally are found on trees, buildings, firewood piles and even birdhouses.

The DNR says that gypsy moth populations increased for a second straight summer due to the weather conditions. The conditions allowed more caterpillars to survive and become adult moths.

Populations reportedly grow fastest and first noticed on:

  • Preferred tree species (oak, crabapple, birch, etc.) growing on mowed lawns
  • Large oaks with rough bark, especially on or adjacent to mowed lawns
  • Dry sties with sandy soil and abundant oak

Officials say that more egg masses can be found once the leaves have fallen from the trees. To treat or remove the egg masses, the DNR says to spray them with horticultural oil or scrape them into a container of soapy water.

If scraped into a container of soapy water, the egg masses should soak for a few days before throwing them in the trash. The biggest increase in caterpillar numbers could happen in southern Wisconsin counties, since conditions were the driest this past spring and summer.

More information can be found on the Wisconsin gypsy moth website.