Parts of Ontario County dealing with major gypsy moth outbreak

The DEC says part of Ontario County is dealing with a serious gypsy moth outbreak.

Meteorologist Kevin Williams tells Finger Lakes News Radio that entire trees are being defoliated.

The area that appears to be most-effected is that around Bristol Mountain.

Cornell Cooperative Extension released the following information about the gypsy moth, about the steps local property owners could take:

“Trees and shrubs in the home landscape can be chemically treated with an insecticide, but time is running out. If you are going to take this action you need to do it now, within the next 7-10 days. In some cases it may be too late to be cost effective. For others the cost is just too much to have them treated. They are going to wait it out and hope for the best. Hardwood trees (oaks, maples, hickories, etc.) may be able to survive two or more years of defoliation, if they are in good health to begin with. Evergreens on the other hand are likely to die after one year of defoliation.

This caterpillar usually hatches in April and May, but with this year’s cold spring many didn’t hatch until mid-May with some not until early June. When they first hatch they are a quarter inch in size, black and fuzzy. They will hang from a silken thread and be windblown to the next branch or another tree nearby. They go through five or six growth stages depending on the sex of the caterpillar. At about one inch in size five pairs of blue dots and six pairs of red dots begin to appear on the back of the caterpillar and the hairs get longer. When full grown they are two to two and a quarter inches long and about as big around as a pencil. The caterpillar stage last about seven weeks from the time of hatch to time of pupation ( cocoon stage). Moths emerge in July and August. The male is brown with black markings and flies in a zig zag fashion. The female is white with dark markings and does not fly. Mating and egg laying occurs during this same time period. Each egg mass contains several hundred eggs. These eggs overwinter and hatch the following spring starting the cycle over again.”


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