Black Dotted Brown Moth

There’s a New Pest in Town

A new pest has found out how great Athens’ oaks are and has significantly infested and defoliated the trees.  The Black Dotted Brown Moth (Cissusa spadix) has defoliated oaks in Athens and surrounding counties for 4 years now, affecting the tree health for a year or more. Their favorite trees to munch on are white oaks and they have a special affinity for post oak.  Signs to look for include: defoliated oak trees, unusual loss of bark, brown caterpillars with 2 white stripes on their backs, yards or porches with black insect frass (excrement), or caterpillars that secrete a reddish-brown liquid when disturbed.

Luckily these caterpillars can be stopped! The use of bought or homemade bug barriers, application of insecticides such as Bt, or even placing bird feeders or chickens near the infected trees will decrease the caterpillars presence.  Now is the time to protect your oaks from these pests!

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