The snow is gone.
We didn’t get a lot of it this year. It didn’t show up at all until March and it only lasted a week and a bit, but it rained and stormed almost continuously from February through this month. So our water table is doing fine.
Now that the Gypsy moth caterpillars have been spotted locally, we really need the rain — so of course, we have lovely, dry spring weather. The rain brings forth a little caterpillar killer bug that drops those caterpillars dead from the trees. But we need rain and a lot of it.
It’s as if the weather is rebelling. Whatever it is we want, we can’t have it. It’s not a lack of weather. It’s a lot of weather — at all the wrong times.
It’s funny to think about snow now. All I have on my mind are the hospital tests and getting finished with them. I think I’m about to (in late May and June) finally complete … and how doth the garden grow.
And how many squirrels are hanging on the bird feeder. Perhaps, as Stuart Templeton said yesterday, “Isn’t it great to see some birds on your squirrel feeders?”
Unsurprisingly, the feeders were filled last night and were nearly empty this morning. I was going to let the feeder run empty and try to convince the squirrels to do their own hunting, but if the caterpillars take over, there won’t BE any food to eat. Those nasty bugs strip the woods and everything goes hungry.
The Gypsy moths are an evil omen in an evil year. Last time, I survived by getting everything sprayed, but I don’t have the money this year — and I don’t even know what (if any) company is set up to to the work. No one was expecting them to come back so soon. They usually lay low for decades before making a return appearance.
If it gets ugly (and Garry is horribly allergic to these nasty critters), I’m going to hide inside and refuse to leave. Since our squirrels are always starving, can they be convinced to eat these guy? Except almost none of the birds will eat the big hairy caterpillars, but many will eat the egg masses they leave behind. We do have most of those birds here. On our deck.
Bring on the birdseed!
And, for what it’s worth, squirrels eat them too, even the caterpillars. So I guess we’re going to keep those feeders full!
More information from Mass Audubon Society and Pests.org:
Some native birds, such as cuckoos, downy woodpeckers, gray catbirds, and common grackles, will eat gypsy moth caterpillars but, unfortunately, not in large enough quantities to have an effect during an outbreak. White-footed mice, and occasionally gray squirrels, prey on gypsy moth larvae and pupae.
These little-known buggers can lay waste to entire forests and crops as they munch their way through the leaves and plants. Up until last year, the Gypsy Moth Caterpillar was not considered a big deal. Granted, they are still a problem when they infest your farm, but they had taken a backseat to other common pests. That is until some states (the northeast and especially Massachusetts) saw the worst Gypsy Moth infestation in more than 30 years.
NOTE: In 2016 and 2017 — here in the Blackstone Valley — virtually every hardwood and fruit-bearing tree were defoliated by the caterpillars), farmers started paying attention.
Some birds typically eat Gypsy Moths. Birds such as the Bluejay, catbird, blackbird (cowbirds ARE blackbirds), crows (we have them, though they don’t favor our woods) and such find these insects delicious.
Encourage these birds to visit your property to feed on these moths by not chasing them away when they come.