The Attack of the Gypsy Moths

By Debbie Lyon, Finger Lakes Museum

Are you prepared for another invasion? Gypsy moths are back in force! They are one of America’s most destructive pests, and they are in the midst of a resurgence. Healthy trees are vital in controlling erosion, reducing contaminated run-off, and providing shade and habitat for native plants, birds and mammals. Healthy deciduous trees can often withstand up to three years of defoliation, but many trees will die in one year of defoliation. And gypsy moths defoliate a staggering average of 700,000 acres each year. What can we do to help the trees?

Gypsy moth egg mass on the bark of a tree

I attended the first Gypsy Moth Scout-and-Scrape-a-thon hosted by the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association recently at Bare Hill. Over 30 people came to help protect the trees. After a brief introduction and some simple instructions, we split up into four groups to divide and conquer. The cool damp weather ended up being good conditions for our efforts. The moisture content made the egg masses clump together, and we did not have problems with loose spores flying around, which would have happened in drier conditions. Together we collected almost 2,000 egg masses, each of which can contain 600 to 1,000 eggs. 

Gypsy moth caterpillars

As a thank-you, before departing we were each given a native sapling to plant on our own properties. I selected river white birch to plant along Sugar Creek at the Finger Lakes Museum to add to our Trees for Tributaries effort.

If you’re sad that you missed out on the fun, never fear! There is one more of these events coming up on 5/1 at Stid Hill. Contact Sonya Carnevale, to get on the list!

By the way, May 2nd thru 8 is Lake Friendly Living Awareness Week AND International Compost Awareness Week. Tree huggers and lake lubbers, this is our time. Spread the word, and take action.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *