U.S. Structural Pest Control Market Surpasses $10.4 Billion, Specialty Consultants Reports – PCT
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Entomological Society of America announced in March that “spongy moth” was formally adopted as the common name for the moth species Lymantria dispar.
The ESA Governing Board unanimously voted to approve the addition of “spongy moth” to ESA’s Common Names of Insects and Related Organisms List, completing a process started in July 2021 when the previous name, “gypsy moth,” was removed due to its use of a derogatory term for the Romani people. The change is the first undertaken by ESA’s Better Common Names Project.
The name — derived from the common name used in France and French-speaking Canada, “spongieuse” — refers to the moth’s sponge-like egg masses.
“Lymantria dispar is a damaging pest in North American forests, and public awareness is critical in slowing its spread,” said ESA President Jessica Ware, Ph.D. “‘Spongy moth’ gives entomologists and foresters a name for this species that reinforces an important feature of the moth’s biology and moves away from the outdated term that was previously used. We are grateful to the diverse community of people and organizations who have been involved in this renaming process and have committed to adopting ‘spongy moth’ as well.”
The spongy moth is an invasive pest of North American forests that can defoliate hundreds of tree and shrub species. Native to Europe, Asia and North Africa, it was introduced in Massachusetts in the 1800s and is now widespread in the northeastern United States and eastern Canada and costs hundreds of millions of dollars each year in damage and prevention and control efforts.
The spongy moth primarily spreads when its egg masses are transported on firewood, outdoor equipment and vehicles. Public awareness of the L. dispar egg mass and its sponge-like appearance is important in controlling the pest, as the insect spends most of its life cycle (10 months) in the egg stage.
The author is a frequent contributor to PCT.