It seems like everything got canceled in 2021. Apparently, insects and bugs aren't exempt from the list.

An invasive forest bug called Lymantria dispar is getting a new name. It's technical name isn't what's bad. The name that's getting changed is what everyone refers to the bug as.

Photo by Mikkel Frimer-Rasmussenon Unsplash
Photo by Mikkel Frimer-Rasmussenon Unsplash

The "Gypsy Moth"

This is what people had been calling it for years. Back in July 2021, the name "gypsy moth" was removed. Why you ask? It's because Romani people considered the word "gypsy" to be a derogatory term.

Since then, the Entomological Society of America (ESA) took over the new name change. They were joined by a wide range of community organizations and governmental agencies to help come up with a new name. Who was the winner?

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

The "Spongy Moth"

ESA President Jessica Ware says the name refers to the moth's sponge-like masses. Not only is this a more appropriate name, but entomologists and foresters say it will help further their management efforts towards slowing the spread of the insect.

What is the "Spongy Moth?"

Lymantria dispar is an invasive pest of forests in North America. The insect can cause damage to and destroy hundreds of trees, shrubs, and plant life. Originally from Europe, Asia, and North Africa, the spongy moth was introduced to the United States in the 1800's in Massachusetts.

If you ever spot a spongy moth or any of it's eggs, it's recommended to contact the ESA immediately. For more information, visit the ESA's website.

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