The MDA's annual spongy moth survey program is the first step in determining where a spongy moth treatment may take place. Our small cardboard traps are baited with a scent that lures in the male spongy moths, where they become trapped in the sticky coating on the trap's interior. If multiple catches in a single trap are found, more traps in and near that location are set the following year. This helps to outline a possible infestation.

Once survey data is analyzed, an alternate life stage survey is conducted in areas with high numbers of male moths. If a spongy moth egg mass is found, this confirms that a reproducing population exists. Finding even one egg mass often leads to proposing the site for treatment, since there are undoubtedly more egg masses – spongy moths hide their egg masses very well. Moreover, each egg mass contains 500-1,000 eggs, which allows for moth numbers to increase rapidly.

The next step is to examine egg mass survey results, past history, and survey data from the current year. Habitat suitability for spongy moth is also taken into consideration. Urban areas with an abundance of oak and other trees, relatively few predators, and lots of sheltered spots for laying egg masses provide idealspongy moth habitat. Based on this information, recommended treatment sites are proposed.