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RA’s Environmental Resource staff receives calls about many different insects. See information below about some of the most common insects in Reston and Fairfax County.

Emerald Ash Borer

Click here to find information on the Fairfax County website.

Emerald Ash Borer Presentation

Gypsy Moths in Fairfax County

The gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar, is currently the most serious insect threat to trees and shrubs in the United States. It is originally from the temperate regions of Europe, Asia, and North Africa. In 1869, the gypsy moth became established in North America after escaping from a Massachusetts lab.

The caterpillar feeds on leaves of forest, shade, ornamental, fruit trees and shrubs. Gypsy moth caterpillars can defoliate a tree by eating 60 to 100% of the leaves. Hardwood trees such as oak and hickory can be killed by two or more defoliations, but a single defoliation can kill some evergreens.

Fairfax County Program

Mosquitoes and West Nile Virus by Fairfax County

In the United States, West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes, primarily members of the Culex genus. In Fairfax County, the primary vector of WNV is Culex restuans. This mosquito feeds primarily on birds and serves to disseminate the virus in the bird population. The bridge vector of WNV in Fairfax County is Culex pipiens. This mosquito will feed upon both birds and humans and in so doing may transmit the virus to the human population.

More Information

Stink Bugs (Brown Marmorated)

The brown marmorated stink bug was apparently accidentally introduced into eastern Pennsylvania and has spread to many other states, including Virginia.

Click here to watch a video about one homemade solution for trapping stink bugs.

Tent Caterpillars

In early spring you may see webs of tent caterpillars at the crotch of cherry trees. These tent caterpillars will eat the leaves of the cherry tree but it will not kill the tree. The caterpillars feast on the leaves early enough in spring that the leaves will re-sprout and the tree will go unharmed. The tent caterpillar is a favorite food of the yellow billed cuckoo, a species that is in decline. If you want to remove the web of tent caterpillars find a long stick and twirl it around the web like twirling spaghetti and throw the web in the trash. RA recommends letting nature take its course, as the cherry trees have co-evolved with this caterpillar for hundreds of years.

Click here to find information on the Fairfax County website.


Click here to find information on the Fairfax County website.

Ticks and Lyme Disease

Click here for common ticks in Fairfax County.
Click here for information on Lyme Disease.


Nature Resources