There are a number of bristly, or tufted, caterpillars that are often mistaken for the gypsy moth. The gypsy moth caterpillar can be identified by five pairs of blue dots followed by six pairs of red dots down the length of back. The head is yellow and the entire body is covered with long hairs. By the end of June, they are 1 to 2 inches long. They do not build silk tents.
Management includes applying barrier bands around trees in April through May, applying burlap collection bands June to July, and pesticide treatments such as Bacillus thuringiensis (BTK) applied on young caterpillars mid May to early June when they are about a half-inch long or Golden Pest Spray Oil on the egg masses in late fall or winter. For photos and more information visit the Gypsy Moth website.