Moth outbreak in Pa. destroying trees and other plant life

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Image of a forest from Getty images


CENTRE COUNTY Pa. (WTAJ)– A European gypsy moth caterpillar outbreak has hit Pennsylvania, as the gypsy moth continues to feed on many of the trees that make up Pennsylvania’s forests.

Oak trees are the moth’s preferred food but they are also known to feed on other trees and shrub species. Fortunately, trees can recover from this as long as there are no other additional nuisances.

When the larvae grow into caterpillars they become easy to spot. They have five pairs of blue spots and six pairs of red dots across their body.

With the current population of caterpillars in Pennsylvania, the only way to get rid of them is by mechanical removal, any other type of treatment will kill other insects that are beneficial to the trees.

Residents should hope for a wet spring next year to bring in a pathogen or virus in order to control the moth population.

For more information on how to control the outbreak go to the DCNR Bureau of Forestry’s website or Penn State Extension’s website.

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