The small caterpillars are mostly black with long hairs. Older caterpillars have a light brown, mottled head and a dark colored body with paired blue spots followed by paired red spots along the back.
Gypsy moth caterpillars are most commonly found on oaks, but feed on many different hardwood trees.
Eggs hatch in April. Young caterpillars feed in tops of trees, while older caterpillars migrate up and down trees. Large areas of forests can be defoliated by heavy infestations.
Removing egg masses and banding trees may help individual landscape trees; area-wide infestations may require large scale insecticide treatments.