We are at the annoying stage of the gypsy moth invasion. Sprayed and surviving, the air is full of moths. Thousands, maybe millions of them are swarming everywhere, no doubt laying clutches of eggs for next year’s even bigger event.

The oaks are trying to come back, some more successfully than others. I watch them every day, looking for signs of growth and health.


A second year would be a real tragedy. No longer just a nightmarish inconvenience but devastation. It would be the end of thousands … acres … of hardwood trees and could involve not only oak and ornamental trees, but also spruce, maple, fruit orchards and more. It would leave ghost woods filled with the skeletons of the trees we loved. So far, no state or town agency has been willing to do anything to prevent this disaster.

We’ve done what we can. We’ve sprayed. That’s it. No one homeowner, nor any group of private individuals, can do this alone. Without help … well … kaput.

From WCVB news, Boston:

Gypsy moth caterpillars return to dine on New England trees

Last year’s dry spring to blame

Published  7:03 PM EDT Jul 03, 2016

We really need rain. And a little more help from nature.

Categories: Blackstone Valley, Nature, New England, News, UPDATE!

Tags: , , , , , ,

23 replies

  1. It’s so bad! We went hiking a couple weeks ago and heard millions of things dropping on the ground. We thought it was pine needles at first and to our horror, we realized it was gypsy moth caterpillars. We were weaving and dodging falling caterpillars the whole time.


    • Yes. VERY bad. We’ve been told we are in the worst of all the infested areas, but now I think they are showing up in other areas of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut. They are awful and ugly. And just poisonous enough to leave you with welts that don’t go away quickly.


  2. What we really need is one heck of a bad winter and that would probably take care of the little devils.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh Marilyn…….I share 32 fruit trees (apples, cherries, plums and pears) with my dear neighbors and the year the Tent Moths came was so devastating and frustrating and creepy. We never used to spray but do it preventively now. I’ve been following your saga and sending evil thoughts to those critters, although “judy54″‘s advice is probably good. But, if I remember right, it still might be too soon to start “om-ing” your way to acceptance of her majesty, Ms. Nature. Grief and rage first…

    I think I’ll save the story of my Carpenter Ant swarm…in my house…for later, OK?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. If I recall correctly when we had this mess, they came back–diminished–for a second year and the only things to suffer were the trees that were already sick, or half dead. A good tree will tolerate this stuff, a poor one won’t. it’s that simple. If you let them run their natural cycle, they will eat themselves out of existence for another 30 years. i suspect we will have a shot at this next year, and there really isnt a lot one can do except let it happen. It’s a natural cycle now, and it does go away.
    From what I’ve read, once the news folks (or what passes for news folks these days) have gotten over the drama, the only trees in true danger are 1) trees, as Ive said, that have been damaged otherwise and are already on the way out and 2) if you live far enough south to permit a second same-season invasion, then you could stand to lose good trees. But most healthy trees can tolerate this. It may not be pretty, but it does happen, and then it goes away.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You have been my guru on this and I just want you to be right. I NEED you to be right. We’ve done everything we can do for now. My guys say that there’s nothing more to be done until fall and then again in early spring. Then, nature will do what she does. There really is nothing that can make we humans recognize how small we are than when nature rears up on her hind legs and socks it to us.

      I don’t think we’ll get a second round this year. Summer’s too short. But the wave has moved on and Rhode Island and Connecticut, and some more northern and western areas of this state are hit pretty hard. At least it’s raining today. This hasn’t been a fun summer. Thank you for all of your help. No one can fix it, but hearing from someone who has been there and knows what is going on really helps a lot.

      Liked by 2 people

      • well, we were around for the last invasion and I think NH was pretty badly hit, as was Vermont and Maine–we had a true shadeless summer and I’ll tell you my half-mile walk to the mailbox daily was more of a sturdy trot, long sleeves, straw hat.

        We may have had a second year of it, but in a very diminished capacity. apparently besides eating themselves out of food there is also a virus they get that knocks them back for about 30 years.

        New Englanders are a sturdy lot, we live through blackflies, mosquitoes, June Bugs, earwigs, black aphids, japanese beetles, ticks, and swoopy bats. Gypsy moth caterpillars are just one more event. Granted, a fairly annoying one, but unlike porcupines eating the porch and woodchucks eating the greens in the garden, they do go away.

        Cling to that.

        And yeah, nature is messy. It’s how things get done. =)


  5. This sounds like some nightmare out of the twilight zone. Unbelievable!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I hope your trees and the others in the district will survive. It makes me feel incredibly sad to think of the loss of so many trees especially knowing that even if they are replanted it would take a generation for them to reach the size of those that were killed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Some will die, though mostly those that weren’t strong to begin with. Most will recover from this first round. The worry is if they come back, damage will be much worse. We are doing what we can, but what we can do is limited. Hopefully by spring the gardening folks will have convinced the towns that they cannot afford to just let thing happen, but I can’t make them do anything. It is sad. I love our trees.

      Most of the oaks around here — other than saplings — are in the 100 year range, because that’s when the farms mostly gave up and let the trees take over. So — two generations. At least to replace the damage.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. They might come back, or something else – who knows, but I think they have had their season in your area and will probably move on to torment someone else.


    • We have moths, but they aren’t doing anything but fluttering around being annoying. It’s the eggs that will hatch NEXT spring that are the bigger worry. But in the end, you’re right. We’ve done what we can do. From here on in, other people need to pitch in and nature needs to perhaps back off a big. Sure has taken the fun out of this summer. This one goes into my file of less happy summer memories!

      Liked by 1 person

      • The gypsy moths (caterpillars) invasion has certainly taken its toll on us and our trees. But look at Mother Nature’s wrath in other parts of our country and you may have to take things in perspective.


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