THEY’RE BACK! RETURN OF THE GYPSY MOTH

It’s going to be a big year for the gypsy moths. They never really leave, but some years are really bad compared to other, relatively light years.

gypsy-moth-caterpillar

This is going to be a bad year. One side of my house is covered with caterpillars. Garry had to dig his car out, as if from under snow. They’ve been coming into the house via the dogs. A few hitched a ride on some Amazon deliveries. I’m spooky about bugs of any kind though I’m not actually afraid of caterpillars, per se.

Unlike spiders and other crawling insects, my heart does not threaten to seize in my chest when I find one. Unfortunately, my startle reflex doesn’t know what’s crawling on me. I only feel something crawling and I do the knee jerk EEK, YOW, UGH, YUK before I ultimately recognize the culprit.

It’s not only that the gypsy moths are creepy pests. They are an invasive pest that consumes oak trees. They have been known to wipe out entire hardwood forests. They’ve almost killed off the black oaks in Pennsylvania.

They aren’t even pretty. No redeeming features that I know of and no natural enemies, either. A pest of the first magnitude with the distinction of being number 1 on our national list of destructive invasive species.

gypsy moth adult

As you’ve probably guessed by the repetition of the word “invasive,” gypsy moths are not native to these parts. Originally a European pest, they took to the New World with a vengeance as soon as they got a bite of it. They’ve been in New England since 1869. at which time they were accidentally introduced near Boston, Massachusetts. Normally, we are happy to have visitors to our fair shores, but not these guys.

In their 150 years on these shores, they have made their way from Massachusetts to Canada,  down to Florida, then back up the middle to Wisconsin and beyond. It’s only a matter of time before they are literally everywhere there is food they can eat. They prefer hardwood trees, but in a pinch, will eat literally anything that grows.

On a purely person level, this means that I won’t go outside unless I must until the moths retreat. We haven’t had a really bad gypsy moth invasion in a few seasons. Probably the exceptionally cold, snowy winters kept them in check.

They are back. I’m so very sorry to see them again.


NOTES:

1: In case you’re interested, click on “gypsy moths” here or at the beginning of this post. It will take you to a link where you can find out more than you ever wanted to know about these nasty, hungry pests. Yuck.

2: Don’t forget the ants. Just because caterpillars have arrived, it does not imply the ants have departed. Have I mentioned how much I hate the bugs? This is not going to be my favorite summer.

3: Sometimes, life in the country is way overrated.



Categories: Animals, Humor, New England, Science, Seasons

Tags: , , , , ,

28 replies

  1. We once had two trees on the nearbye river bank covered with silky thread and beneath there were literally hundres of caterpillars. They had eaten all the leaves and shoots on the tree. A year later the trees were still there, and sprouting again and the catepillars had disappeared, but they were not gypsy moth.

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    • There are a couple of other species that are similar … I forget their names, but tent caterpillars are one. Gypsy moths are particular voracious. There seem to be fewer of them this morning. Maybe it was a big chowing down night for the birds.

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  2. Does not sound good. I am glad we do not have them in our neck of the woods. Insects do not bother me as long as they stay outside.

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  3. They’re probably here too.
    Leslie

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  4. We have a problem with carpenter ants eating our Black Jack Oaks out here, and any wood on our home. I too hate bugs, especially scorpions and millipedes. Creepy crawly things “bug” me! 😉

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  5. I feel this way about cicadas. Read about them if you want the basis for a good horror story monster.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. They are a scourge. Hate em

    Liked by 1 person

  7. At least the birds are eatin’ good!

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  8. We don’t get many of them here. We sent them all to America decades ago. You’re welcome.

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  9. So it would be useless to have the gypsy moths pay for a wall to keep them out since they’d just eat holes in it anyway….

    Liked by 3 people

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