Ahhhhhhh, summer is here and in Eastern CT, many areas are again dealing with bare trees due to gypsy moth caterpillars.
What happens when gypsy moth becomes established?
Once gypsy moths become permanently established, it may take several more years for moth populations to build before residents see any noticeable defoliation. The first outbreak may last three to 15 years depending on weather patterns, local site conditions, and the presence of natural enemies. Typically, the first outbreak is by far the most severe because there are abundant host trees and very few natural enemies present. The first outbreak is when most environmental, social, and economic impacts will occur as a result of repeated defoliation and associated tree mortality.
Competition for food, increasing disease, and natural enemies eventually cause gypsy moth populations to collapse. After the first outbreak, gypsy moth populations behave more like those of native insects, with cyclic outbreaks every eight to 12 years.
What happens to the trees?
Gypsy moths do not kill trees directly they defoliate them. Severe defoliation can add to other stresses such as weather extremes or human activities. This cumulative stress can leave trees vulnerable to disease or other pest infestation that can cause death. For example, stressed oak trees are susceptible to two-lined chestnut borer and the fungus that causes Armillaria root rot, both of which can lead to oak tree death. The trees most at risk of dying as a result of gypsy moth defoliation are those that are already under stress. Most trees die following a gypsy moth outbreak in:
To learn how you can beat the gypsy moth caterpillar invasion, contact Cutting Edge Tree Care Specialists today!