Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Plague Returns



The Gypsy Moth Caterpillars began hatching in great numbers around the first of May. As you can see in this photograph they have already riddled the new leaves on the oak trees in the affected areas.

Last year we experienced total defoliation of thousands of acres in our area and this year promises to be much worse. State and private spraying programs, although effective can only control the caterpillars on small areas of forest land. The cost to attempt to eradicate this pest would totally overwhelm state and local government if any such attempt were made.

I will once again post photos of the devastation to our forest as the season progresses. The worst will occur in late June just before the caterpillars metamorphous into adult moths. This will be the second year for the outbreak. Oaks can typically stand two to three defoliations before it proves fatal but last year was particularly stressful as we were in the midst of a prolonged drought. This spring has been exceptionally wet so for the tree’s sake I am hoping for the rains to continue.

If you are not familiar with the Gypsy Moth and their devastation, click the label “Gypsy Moth” at the bottom of this post to view my photos from last year’s outbreak.

11 comments:

Sand said...

Sorry it has been so long since I have visited. I am glad I am not in the area for the gypsy moths this year. Although, I have to deal with wildfires, there have been 4 nearby so far. The last few posts are awesome, I particularly like the hummingbird moth and the carpenter bee. I know how incredibly hard it must have been to capture!

Abraham Lincoln said...

My white oak tree got frost bit or something as the new leaves are all dark and brittle on the ends. I don't know what it is or why it happened this year but it did. I sure don't want to even think about losing it or the consequences of the Gypsy Moth or the Japanese Beetles.

fishing guy said...

Salty: Nature has its ups and downs and the strongest survive. This gypsy moth is a true pest. You've captured the start really well.

Stacey Huston said...

Thanks for a very informative post..

photowannabe said...

Nasty critters and an ugly problem. I think I have to go and check on our Oak tree too.

Michele (Rocky Mtn.Girl) said...

I have seen this and it truly is a pest and has caused devastation to many of the fine trees out there... what a shame. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Shionge said...

Oops!!! I remembered looking out for eggs when the butterflies flew away when I was little :D

Old Wom Tigley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Old Wom Tigley said...

Hi Salty...
I will read up on these on the link.. Our Silver Birch trees are attacked in certain years.. We have small birds called BLUE TITS which feed their nestlings predominantly with leaf-eating caterpillars and generally synchronize the nestling stage with the seasonal caterpillar peak I wonder if breeding programmes of your native birds could be a help..

Jim said...

Hi Salty,

It's really amazing the damage the Gypsy Moths do to a forest. Each year I see more and more effects. I do a lot of photography in Garrett Co. MD and it's heartbreaking to see whole mountainsides of hardwoods bare of foliage in the summer months.

Now, we have a problem with the hemlock wholly agelid in southern Appalachia that's spreading north. Of all the evergreens, the hemlock is my favorite...so I can't imagine what those mountainsides will look like without the trees we love so much.

I really enjoy your excellent photos of the waterfowl.

Jim

alex216 said...

I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool.
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參觀,Thanks