Rainy spring may be undoing of gypsy moth caterpillar invasion

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — We know rain can wash the spiders out. Turns out, the same may be true for gypsy moth caterpillars.

Just a few weeks ago, it looked like the infestation was going to be worse than last year. However, Heather Faubert – a researcher at the University of Rhode Island – said the recent rainy weather may put an end to the caterpillar invasion.

Gypsy Moth Caterpillars Coverage

She said the rain activates fungus, which in turn kills the caterpillars. Faubert said she expects that by the end of the month, almost all of the critters will be dead from fungal disease.

As for next year? She said the gypsy moth population should be back to normal because of the rain.

Trees defoliated by gypsy moths can become stressed and die. An infestation of gypsy moths last year was one of the largest in the region since the 1980s.