Saturday, June 10, 2006

Gypsy moth plague

I have neglected my blog, but I have a good excuse. Gypsy moth caterpillars were going to eat all our trees again this year. The photo is from last year when they were destroying a chestnut oak. All our oak, maple and white pine trees were stripped bare last year. Their favorite trees are oaks. Of the oaks the one they like the best is the chestnut oak then the white oak and after that the red oak. The leaves are arranged from left to right.

And then the moths laid more eggs than I have ever seen here. So I scraped egg cases off everything I could as high as I could reach and then when the tiny caterpillars hatched, I started spraying everything as high as I could reach with Dipel - - bacillus thuringensis.

We participated (translation: paid for) in the county spray program so that helped immensely. Two days after the county sprayed, the ground was covered with dead caterpillars from the treetops. Nonetheless, some of the trees on our two plus acres are dead or dying.

The battle here is over, but in the surrounding heavily forested areas we have driven through in Pike and Wayne Counties that were not sprayed the trees are bare of foliage and it looks like fall. This year we have seen very few squirrels, most likely because there were no acorns or pine cones for them to eat over the winter.

The gypsy moth was a fiber accident gone horribly wrong. A researcher trying to get them to produce silk accidentally let some escape.