It’s that time of the year again where gypsy moth caterpillars are back.
However, state forest experts said the impact won’t be as bad as last year.
In order to keep the gypsy moth caterpillar from climbing up his white oaks and devouring the lush green canopy like they did last year, Wayland Stetson wrapped his trees this spring with a sticky tape.
“This is nothing compared to last year. Last year was very, very bad,” Stetson said.
Last June the gypsy moth ate its way through thousands of acres of forested land, primarily in eastern Connecticut.
Now, many trees are dead, unable to survive the gypsy moth destruction consecutive years in a row.
At Red Cedar Lake, Carol McGann said they may lose some trees.
“Every day we had to sweep probably for a good month or so, probably a lot of drippings around. It was disgusting I didn’t walk outside for a whole month,” McGann said.
“The latest outbreak really started back in 2014 building up each year growing exponentially in 2016,” said Chris Martin, of the state’s Dept. of Environmental Protection’s Forestry department.
DEEP’s aerial survey compared the defoliation in 2016 to last year’s gypsy moth egg mass.
Martin said a fungus created by a wet spring is helping to ease the problem.
“Very similar to last year where we are starting to see a die back of a lot of the caterpillars do to the emergence of the mamega fungus,” Martin said.
Homeowners can defend their trees with products found in their local hardware stores.
There are chemical sprays that will kill the gypsy moth caterpillars, and there are tape barriers.
“The tape protects the tree so that when you put tanglefoot on it, it doesn’t leave a black mark on that tree for the rest of its life,” said Dean Tine, of Montville Hardware.
Tanglefoot is this grease like material that you slather on top of the tape barrier, or you can put your own sticky barrier up like Wayland did.
“I just tape the oaks because those are the worst,” Wayland said.
The good news is there aren’t as many this year and the prospects for next year, there won’t be as many either.
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