Public's help needed locating 'dead and dying gypsy moth caterpi - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Public's help needed locating 'dead and dying gypsy moth caterpillars'

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Maimaiga fungus causing deaths of gypsy moths (WFSB) Maimaiga fungus causing deaths of gypsy moths (WFSB)

A fungus in Connecticut may be eliminating gypsy moth caterpillars.

Members of Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection said they have received reports of "dead and dying gypsy moth caterpillars." They believe it is connected to the maimaiga fungus.

They are asking for the public's help locating "dead and dying gypsy moth caterpillars" to help them predict "the potential 2018 gypsy moth outbreak."

Property owners said when it’s quiet, they can hear the gypsy moth caterpillars eating away.

Experts said this year it appears all trees, not just oaks, are victims.

“When I did spray, they would like dive bomb off with their thread and they would all be hanging from the tree,” said Robin Roof, of Griswold.

The eggs planted by the moths in July, turn into caterpillars the following May, and are eating leaves constantly.

"You can hear them crunching but they got our crab apple worse than the maples,” said Deb Luther.

DEEP officials said the outbreak looks bigger this year, while last year 167 acres were stripped by the caterpillars and the year before 180 acres were consumed.

While it’s too late to spray trees, and most towns don't budget for a gypsy moth and tent caterpillars spraying, retailers advise taping trees in the spring or spraying the leaves yourself with an organic product to kill them off.

On Tuesday, officials with the The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and DEEP said they were "grateful for the robust response from ALL of the citizen scientists who reported gypsy moth caterpillar activity in their neighborhoods." 

"Undoubtedly, it will be less intensive than 2017 and with CAES scheduled to conduct aerial surveys this summer, areas defoliated this year that were not impacted by the fungus likely indicate where gypsy moths will be active next spring," DEEP posted on Facebook on Tuesday. 

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