Long Island has seen a rise in the Gypsy moth caterpillar population due to the unseasonably dry spring.
In the past we’ve experienced localized outbreaks but according to Dan Gilrein, an entomologist with Cornell Cooperative, this year’s Gypsy moth presence has been the largest he recalls since 1988.
Gypsy moth caterpillar damage
Naturally occurring fungus and disease that ordinarily control the Gypsy moth grow and spread in wet environments. Because of this, Gypsy moths usually are a somewhat insignificant problem on Long Island, other than outbreaks in very localized spots. However, 2015 has been a year of peak activity due largely to a very dry May.
An infestation can leave damaged, leafless trees looking more like those of January than July. The trees can usually survive, they’re programmed to grow a second leaf covering. But that uses up much of the trees’ backup nutrients, leaving them especially susceptible to other stressors.
Gypsy moth with egg mass
The large amount of visible Gypsy moth egg sacs hanging on tree trunks, branches, and even lawn furniture are further evidence of our heavy infestation this year. Go outside and check for them, especially on oaks. They are fuzzy patches, some with a mother moth still laying. Each egg sac contains up to 1,000 eggs that will hatch next spring in time to eat the tender new leaves.
Other trees that can be affected include
- mountain ash
Contact us today for a free consultation with a NOFA-Accredited, ISA Certified Arborist.