Massachusetts ravaged by gypsy moth caterpillars

Massachusetts ravaged by gypsy moth caterpillars

According to a new survey, gypsy moth caterpillars have defoliated one-third of the state's forests.

September 8, 2017
The Boston Globe

Nearly a third of the forest canopy across Massachusetts has been consumed this year by a plague of gypsy moth caterpillars, finger-long creatures whose insatiable appetite for leaves can ultimately kill trees.

Several years of drought conditions allowed the insects to thrive to such an extent that they have chewed through about 1 million of the state’s 3 million acres of forest foliage, state surveys show.

While only a small number of trees are likely to die immediately as a result, and next year should see a sharp drop in the caterpillar population, the damage could threaten trees’ long-term health.

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Photo: gypsy moth caterpillar by John Ghent,