A gypsy moth caterpillar on a leaf in Massachusetts
While being outside in Massachusetts this June, I first noticed it. A lot of leaves were falling from the trees, only these were chewed leaf parts, not whole leaves.
Similar to the children’s book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar written by Eric Carle, some leaves didn’t just have chew marks but actual holes going straight through them. Unlike the children’s book, this damage isn’t being caused by a friendly caterpillar who turns into a butterfly. Instead it’s the result of ravenous gypsy moth caterpillars feeding…and feeding. It’s so bad that in some areas, on walkways and roadways, it looks like fall. Brown, dried up leaves are a contrast to summer’s lush greenery. Read more »
With an estimated 40 million people moving each May, it’s no wonder this “very merry month” is recognized as National Moving Month. If you plan to move this year, please don’t make a move until you check for the gypsy moth.
This invasive pest has altered the landscape in 19 States and the District of Columbia, and without your help, it threatens many more. Since 1970, 75 million acres in the United States have been defoliated by the gypsy moth. It’s an all too common scene in our forests: a barren, wintry look in the middle of summer. The gypsy moth is known to feed on more than 300 trees and shrubs. Left unchecked, an infestation of gypsy moth can defoliate up to 13 million acres of trees in one season. Read more »
As National Moving Month, May marks the height of the moving season. It also marks a time of great peril for America’s forests. Gypsy moths normally get their best chance to spread across the country in May as they hitchhike with people moving or traveling from an infested area to a noninfested area. This year should be different, however, thanks to an outreach campaign called “Your Move Gypsy Moth-Free” that USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) recently launched.
The stakes are high: Gypsy moth caterpillars can defoliate, weaken, and kill more than 300 different types of trees and shrubs. Since 1970, this dangerous forest pest has defoliated 75 million acres in the United States. If left unchecked, an infestation can defoliate up to 13 million acres of trees in one season. New infestations are typically caused by gypsy moth egg masses that people transport accidentally when moving or traveling from an infested area to a noninfested area. That’s why APHIS requires these individuals to inspect for and remove gypsy moth egg masses from outdoor household items—before they move. Read more »