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Author Topic: Gypsy Moths  (Read 1882 times)

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Offline CHARLIE

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Gypsy Moths
« on: February 18, 2002, 08:14:55 PM »
From the April 2002 issue of Countr Living Gardner

Problem: Unwelcome European invaders, gypsy moths devour the foliage of most shade and evergreen trees, sometimes consuming entire forests.  Although lacking painted wagons and tambourines, they have traveled west from their Massachusetts starting point, scattering across the United States to California.

Detection: Larvae hatch in spring from fuzzy brown egg masses laid on tree bark, fences, and buildings. Look for hairy gray caterpillars with pairs of blue and red spots on their backs. They crawl down trees in the daytime to hide, climb up at night to feed, and become moths by midsummer.

Solution: In late winter, scrape egg masses from surfaces into containers filled with kerosene or rubbing alcohol. Place 12 inch wide burlap bands around tree trunks and destroy the caterpillars found beneath. Insecticides, including the biological control Bacillus thuringiensis ssp. kurstaki, are available; hire an arborist to spray large trees.

Article written by: David Chinery  
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Online Corley5

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Re: Gypsy Moths
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2002, 08:34:40 PM »
We've never had an infestation here resulting in defoliation.  North around Indian River and East in the Pigeon River Country there have been.  I do find egg masses around our place, which I destroy.  This winter I've found more than in others.  I dutifully sqish each one I come across.
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Offline Ron Scott

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Re: Gypsy Moths
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2002, 04:35:23 PM »
We find a lot of egg masses while marking timber. Michigan has had a Gypsy Moth control program with high risk areas being sprayed.

The Harrison area down near Jeff was hit hard back in the mid 1980's. It was especially hard on the oak which we have been harvesting.
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Gypsy Moths
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2002, 04:36:31 PM »
I've seen what gypsy moth can really do.  I've gone into stands that had a 90% mortality in the oaks.  Other trees seem to fare out better.  Larch can withstand 9 successive years of defoliation.  Gypsy moth will starve to death before eating tulip poplar.

Gypsy moth still comes around from time to time.  It isn't as bad as it once was.  There are a lot more parasitic wasps and Bt spary used, which helps keep them under control.  When it gets into an area, it will strip mountains of timber in a few weeks.

Stands can withstand one year of defoliation, and some can handle 3 years with limited mortality.  3 years is pretty heavy mortality.  

I was in one stand that had gypsy moth in the late spring, and oak leaf roller in the fall.  That was total mortality in one year.

I've been told that the egg masses you see only account for about 5% of the population.  There are egg masses in places you can't imagine.  Each egg mass has about 400 eggs.  
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Gypsy Moths
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2002, 04:48:40 PM »
Yea, I got a kick out of Solution:

Apparently this guy never lived through a severe infestation of those #$@%$@$!# things.  Ron is right, we were hit hard, along with midland county where our family's 40 is. The oaks were about 60 to 80% mortality there. Some are still hanging on, but were significantly sickened.

In a residential area these things are brutal. During the time they are eating you can't stand to be in your yard. It is raining caterpillar crap. the stuff would fall on your cars with the same effect as rotten eggs. You could hear it as soon as you walked out, and they would strip almost every leaf. Our county sprays every year now to keep them in check, but thier still here. You can usually find a caterpiller or 2 every year, just enough to make you appriciate the millage you pay for the spray program.

I mean it, its a nightmare to have them, you would never dream...
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Gypsy Moths
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2002, 05:07:53 PM »
I was on the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Forestry Assn. when we were hit with the brunt of the moth attacks.  What was really nice is that I got to rub shoulders with the heads of every forestry related state organization.  They gave me a lot of the thinking at that time.

They decided that they were not going to spray for the moth.  They were convinced that it was better to let it run it's course and pick up the pieces later.  The only spraying that was done was close to the residential areas.  

Their thinking was that although spraying controls population, it doesn't get rid of it.  You would have to spray year after year and the economics would soon surpass the value of the timber you're trying to protect.  In the long run, I think it was a prudent decision.  17 million acres is a lot to spary.

The down side was where some landowners would spray their lands.  Their lands were like a beacon for hungry caterpillars.  They could never control it since the adjoining lands weren't sprayed.  

During the heights of moth infestations, we have had incidents where cars wrecked while driving over caterpillars that covered the roads.  It was like hitting an ice patch in the middle of June.
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Gypsy Moths
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2002, 05:16:57 PM »
we do spray every year, but were not spraying everything, only the residential. The gypsy moth has subsided in the unsprayed areas as well. Alls I can say is keep spraying my house, I never want to deal with those little 8!@#%^&* ever again.
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Offline Frank_Pender

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Re: Gypsy Moths
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2002, 05:41:46 PM »
I am supprised that the tree hugger groups are not out there demanding large area spraying be done to save their precious trees.  It must be, that as their personal pocket books begin to get pinched they don't squawk quite as loud?  :-X Blast, my soapbox is getting a bit slick again.  I have to quit that, as I am getting older and it takes longer for the bones to heal when you fall off suck items. :D :D
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Gypsy Moths
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2002, 02:52:03 AM »
You're missing the tree huggers point.  They're opposed to the cutting of trees.  The gypsy moth, and uncontrolled burns are part of the natural cycle, therefore it is good.  Timber cutting isn't part of the natural cycle, therefer it is bad.  

Too bad they don't demonstrate against urban sprawl with the same amount of vigor as they do timber harvesting.  But, that doesn't bring in the same amount of bucks for their telemarketing campaigns.
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Offline swampwhiteoak

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Re: Gypsy Moths
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2002, 07:49:14 AM »
I work in an area that is just beginning to see the invasion of gypsy moths.  We have populations working their way over from WV and PA and a population working south from Michigan.  

Right now spraying is free to any landowner with certain restrictions.  People not in sensitive water areas can have Dimilin sprayed.  Most folks opt for Bt spray, though.  There are also large drops of pheremone flakes dropped in front of the advancing plague.  

When all this first started happening a few years ago Cuyahoga National Park decided to not participate in the spraying program.  "We don't want to interfere with nature and it'll hurt the other caterpillars, blah blah" and other predictable park service attitudes.  A couple of years later they started seeing large areas of trees, especially big nice oaks, dying.  All the sudden they start to think maybe spraying isn't such a bad idea.

Those of us in the Division of Forestry with strong stomachs get to ride in Cessnas and map out defoliated areas each year.  It is quite an eye opening experience to see whole forested hillsides without leaves in the middle of summer.  

Online Corley5

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Re: Gypsy Moths
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2002, 08:39:57 AM »
Only seeing 5% of the eggs masses sounds right.  While cutting timber this winter I've found most of them higher in the trees.  I still smash them or catch them with the tip of the saw.  Destroying every egg mass you find is a good thing even if it's only the tip of the iceberg.
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