Authorities and officials are highly concerned because gypsy moths have taken their toll on the forests of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.
Countless caterpillars have already destroyed around a hundred thousand acres of trees only in Massachusetts. The National Weather Service from Boston reported that the damage made by this pest could be observed from the satellite as well.
According to Brian Cassie, Massachusetts Butterfly Club founder, the caterpillars also represent a threat on the ground as they already had a tremendous impact on the agriculture.
Scientists labeled them as an ecological danger, because if these gypsy moths continue damaging oak trees, then bears, wild turkeys, and other animals relying on oak acorns will probably suffer a massive decline in their population.
It is also worth mentioning that firefighters are concerned about the fact that forests will become more vulnerable to wildfires because trees will no longer have their combustion-protecting greenery.
Some residents tried to wet their trees with Vaseline, but the caterpillars found a way of climbing into the trees regardless of people’s efforts.
According to David Hanson, a farmer from Massachusetts, more and more people are concerned because their lawns have also been invaded by these pests. Based on the data collected by the Associated Press, this is probably the most devastating gypsy moths infestation since 1980.
It is believed that the gypsy moths were imported from Europe back in the 1960s for the purpose of an experiment, and they were accidently released into the wild where they began feeding and thriving in the United States forests.
Because they had no natural enemies, the gypsy moths spread throughout the country at a very fast rate. There are just a couple of bird species that are capable of eating the dangerous caterpillars.
According to the Massachusetts NPR station officials, the Black-billed and yellow- cuckoos can gather the caterpillars’ spines in their stomach linings and expel the hairs in the form of pellets.
Scientists established that the gypsy moth population drastically increases every year starting from late May until they end of August.
The only weapon against these pests that experts have found until now is the Entomophaga maimaga fungus, a species of native Japan spores that infect the caterpillars and consume them from inside.
Biologists and authorities will double their efforts to develop a more efficient strategy for dealing with the gypsy moths invasion that has already destroyed so many trees throughout the country.
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