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  • Liz

Year of the Gypsy Moth

A topic of conversation amongst the neighbourhood and beyond. It’s an infestation causing total devastation like nothing we’ve ever seen in our 12 years as stewards of this land. Our woodlot is under attack; our most precious trees defoliated. The sound of leaves rustling in the wind is no more, replaced by the sound of millions of hungry caterpillars just munching away.

Of course, it would be the year of the pandemic (2020) when we first noticed these Gypsy Moths. We won’t get into how someone thought it would be a brilliant ideal to interbreed moths to establish a new silkworm industry. That’s another story for someone else to tell. But after much research, we purchased these traps last summer to try and contain this year’s outbreak.

Total waste of money, obviously. But folk are now desperate trying to find pheromones to make their own DIY traps for when these critters emerge from their pupal skin as moths next month. I suppose if there’s a collective effort by everyone to trap these destructive, invasive moths, maybe they can be contained. But shy of spraying (and not by your local arborist), there is sadly, nothing you can do, except of course, shop-vac, drown in soapy water, or stomp-on what you can now before metamorphosis.

What we learned.

Apparently, this is a phenomenon that occurs every 8-10 years. But clearly that is up for debate since I’m pretty sure we would have noticed had we experienced this before. Anyhow, it’s a 3-year cycle (again, apparently), until a fungus - ironic if derived from its own sh#t - finally kills most of them off in year 3. Neighbours and folks on social media are claiming we are at the end of this cycle, but I’m in doubt. Wishful thinking is understandable though, because this is what we're up against:

A few thoughts crossed my mind:

a. What will the landscape and colours look like this fall ?

b. Will there be sap to tap next February ?

to be continued...


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