Gypsy moth caterpillars invade New England neighborhoods

State officials say while the infestation is not as it was in the early 1980s

(CNN) – They’re creepy crawlers and masses of them are invading lawns and trees all over New England! The gypsy moth caterpillar is making a major comeback. And the comeback has homeowners bugging out.

“There’s different stages of the caterpillar.” The invasion is total and complete.

“On a scale of 1-10, I would give it a 10.” Gypsy moth eggs, covering trees and hatching to these fuzzy caterpillars who are very, very hungry.

“These things are not differentiating between any 2 two trees, it’s pretty much everything, pines oaks, dogwood rhododendrons.”

Whitinsville landscaper Steve Isabelle says a few weeks ago his clients began calling him in a panic – as the leaves on their trees began disappearing. The rate of defoliation has only accelerated.

“The pine trees right now, no one really knows if they’re gonna come back or not.”

Just 24 hours ago Isabelle says this skeletal tree had leaves. And as the gypsy moths eat they leave other signs of occupation.

“You could actually hear the fecal matter landing on the leaves, it sounded like rain.”

State officials say while the infestation is not as it was in the early 1980s, homeowners have a right to be concerned.

“This is probably the second year that they’ve been hit hard, so some of those trees will be under stress.”

Gooch says at this point in the moth’s life cycle it’s too late to kill them with biological methods. He says the best bet is to hope the trees survive, and spray for next year’s larvae in the early spring.

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