BRANT COUNTY -- Environmental experts are warning about outbreaks of an insect species called gypsy moths across the province, including in areas like Waterloo Region, Guelph and Brant County.

An environmental planner with the region of Waterloo said the gypsy moths have been popping up more in the last two years than they have in decades.

Egg masses can be spotted in the winter months. Those eggs hatch around this time of the year and that’s when many can see gypsy moth caterpillars climbing up and down trees.

“And then they’ll go through the developmental stages and they’ll become adults by the end of June,” said Albert Hovingh with the region of Waterloo.

Jared Houliston has dozens of trees on his 3.5-acre Brantford property. He said gypsy moth caterpillars are overrunning his trees.

“There are thousands and millions of them around here,” said Houliston. “They’ve decimated our landscape. They’ve decimated the property values.”

When gypsy moths are in the caterpillar stage they feast on leaves, which could lead to defoliated or dead trees.

Houliston has tried everything to get rid of them including taping his trees with duct tape.

According to experts, another option to catch the critters is using burlap.

“You take a strip of burlap and you tie it around the tree and you flop the burlap over,” Hovingh said.

Houliston has taken his battle against the caterpillars a step further.

An aerial crop-duster and has sprayed his property twice. It was a joint effort between him and his neighbours.

“Thirty to 40 houses around here that paid to do it,” Houliston said.

He is hoping the spray keeps the insects from coming back.

“It's an organic spray as well, so it’s like it’s not going to hurt our wildlife,” said Houliston.

Some people have raised concerns on social media regarding the insects biting them. Hovingh said they do not bite but their tiny hairs can lead to an allergic reaction.


  • Trap caterpillars on trees under burlap and dispose of the insects
  • Use an insecticide to reduce numbers
  • Make sure trees are as healthy as possible by keeping them well watered so they can tolerate any defoliation from the caterpillars
  • Keep an eye out for egg masses later in the summer and remove them