Spongy Moth Resource Center Hatches Just In Time

By Art Kabelowsky, DNR forest health communications and outreach specialist, Fitchburg
Arthur.Kabelowsky@wisconsin.gov or 608-335-0167

A screenshot of the mock-up of the new Spongy Moth Resource CenterAs Wisconsin braces for another potentially busy season of spongy moth caterpillars, three state agencies have teamed up to make it easier for tree owners and others to access the latest information and advice on the invasive, leaf-chomping pests.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has joined the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension to revamp the state’s interagency spongy moth information webpage.

Renamed the “Spongy Moth Resource Center,” a first glance at the document reveals basic information on the insect. But by following a new list of “Frequently Asked Questions,” visitors can tunnel deeper to more easily find information that applies specifically to their situation.

Among the refreshed site’s features:

  • Ways to identify spongy moth caterpillars and differentiate them from other native caterpillars
  • Information on the DATCP spongy moth quarantine and non-quarantine zones and regulations that apply to residents and visitors in each zone
  • Control options for yard tree owners to consider, including a newly created guide to insecticide options
  • Options specifically designed to help landowners, foresters and public land managers make informed control decisions
  • An explanation of the aerial spray programs conducted by the DNR (on state properties) and DATCP (which manages ‘Slow the Spread’ treatments in key non-quarantine locations)
  • Direct links to the current-year DNR and DATCP spray block maps and links to receive updated information on spraying schedules
  • Information to help private landowners, groups and professionals make decisions on organizing their own aerial spray
  • Ways for members of the public to contact a forester, arborist and/or aerial spray company

The state agencies will also continue operating the Wisconsin Spongy Moth Hotline, focusing on up-to-date spray schedule updates and other basic information. The hotline is available by calling 1-800-642-MOTH (6684) or emailing spongymoth@wisconsin.gov.

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