DEC asking residents to help combat high gypsy moth population

Around New York State

FILE – In this July 28, 2008, file photo, a female Lymantria dispar moth lays her eggs on the trunk of a tree in the Salmon River State Forest in Hebron, Conn. In July 2021, the Entomological Society of America announced it is dropping the common name of this destructive insect that is also an ethnic slur against a group of people: the gypsy moth. (AP Photo/Bob Child, File)

NORTH COUNTRY, N.Y. (WWTI) — There was an elevated population of gypsy months in New York State this summer. The high numbers caused noticeable leaf damage across the state according to the Department of Environmental Conservation.

The gypsy moth is an invasive species that was introduced to the United States in 1869. They were originally brought over from France in an attempt to create a strong species of silkworm that could benefit the silk industry. Since they escaped the species has invaded over a dozen states including New York according to the United States Forest Service.

Gypsy moths are known to feed on the leaves of a large variety of trees but Oak is their preferred species. When outbreaks occur and populations are high like they were this past summer thousands of acres of trees can be damaged.

The St. Lawrence Eastern Lake Ontario Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management is advising the public to help reduce the population to avoid the same issue next year. Residents can help reduce the population of gypsy moths that emerge next spring by searching for and destroying egg masses this fall and winter.

Residents are encouraged to look for light-brown fuzzy patches on tree trunks and branches, tires, lawn furniture, and other outdoor items. These are gypsy moth egg masses and can be easily destroyed by being scrapped off into a container of detergent and bring disposed of.

More information on the gypsy moth species and how to combat the spread of the population can be found on the DEC website.

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