Gypsy moth caterpillars damage many trees in western Massachusetts

Brimfield and the Holland Ponds experienced some of the worst leaf loss caused by Gypsy Moths.

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Fall Foliage is not going to look the same this year in eastern Hampden County.

Brimfield and the Holland Ponds experienced some of the worst leaf loss caused by Gypsy Moths. According to a state survey, Gypsy Moths damaged more than 350,000 acres of trees across the state. These gypsy moth caterpillars feed on leaves.

Some parts of western Massachusetts have also been affected by these gypsy moth caterpillars, including Belchertown.

“Where they do infest, they are very visible and many people see them in there own yards, their nests in the trees,” said Michael Garjian of Belchertown.

Other hard hit areas areas along the Quabbin Reservoir including portions of Ware, Pelham and New Salem. UMass Professor Joe Elkinton told 22News, we could see more tree damage next year if there’s another drought.

“It’s a cause for worry because there was a lot of survival this year,” said Elkinton. ” I saw a lot of egg masses and trees plastered with eggs. We’re set for another server defoliation next year if we don’t get that rainfall.”

Elkinton also said a lack of rain suppressed a fungus that kills Gypsy Moths. He said this year’s caterpillar infestation is the worst since 1981.

If you have a tree with gypsy moth eggs in your yard, Elkinton advises spraying it with insecticide.

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