The winter moth (Operophtera brumata) is a European introduction that has been in the northwestern United States (Washington, Oregon) and parts of Canada for many years. The moth was detected in recent years in coastal areas of Massachusetts and is now reaching alarming population levels along the Cape. Preferred hosts are the leaves and buds of blueberries and apples. The larvae will also feed on a wide variety of other trees such as ash, cranberry, maple, oak, elm, poplar, certain spruces, and others causing concern for the natural tree populations as well as the ornamental plant industries. If infestations go unnoticed, defoliation and bud damage can be extensive, thereby reducing long term tree health and yields for fruit trees. Biological, chemical, and cultural control options are available but display varying levels of success and may pose injury to the host or surrounding ecosystem.
For more information, please see the article from the Cape Codder:
Information about the winter moth is available from the University of Massachusetts Defoliator fact sheet: