Oaks hit hard by gypsy moths, but die off expected - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Oaks hit hard by gypsy moths, but die off expected

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Gypsy moth caterpillars continue to hit oak trees hard in eastern and central Connecticut. (DEEP photo) Gypsy moth caterpillars continue to hit oak trees hard in eastern and central Connecticut. (DEEP photo)
(DEEP photo) (DEEP photo)
SOMERS, CT (WFSB) -

Gypsy moths continue to hit oak trees in Connecticut particularly hard.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection released an update on the situation late Tuesday night.

It's been monitoring the insects since the spring.

"The gypsy moth caterpillars continue to hit oaks hard in parts of eastern and central Connecticut," DEEP said. "As the larvae deplete the oaks, they are moving on to feed on other tree species, such as maples and witch hazel."

Tony Dauphin in Somers said he had five beautiful oak trees on his property.

"This happened really fast, within two weeks and then this is all the leaves, ground up," Tony Dauphin said.

Thousands of gypsy moth caterpillars took over his three acres.

A maimaiga fungus has been reported in a number of towns across the state, which should eventually lead to a die-off.

"The major die-off expected from the fungus has not yet been observed, but it is anticipated shortly," DEEP reported.

DEEP said the cool spring looks to have slowed the growth rate of the caterpillars and delayed their moving down to the soil, where they will meet the fungal spores.

Now that temperatures have risen, it said more of the caterpillars should get infected and the larval will die.

"Nature takes it course whenever it wants, and you try and rely on weather," Dauphin said.

He said he hopes one of his oaks will stand tall for another year; but he's not sure it'll make it.

"It should survive," Dauphin said. "I was told if it happens two years in a row then chances of losing the tree are kind of common. I'm managing them the best way I can."

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