JOHNSTOWN, N.Y. (NEWS10) – This summer, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has seen a severe outbreak of gypsy moths, especially in the Adirondack Region.
These insects start off as caterpillars and eventually turn into moths as the size of a quarter. Right now people across the region are seeing these caterpillars all over their property. One Johnstown resident tells NEWS10 there are thousands of them all over his yard. “This year is way, way worse than last year…They’re just all over everything,” says Johnstown resident Will Wilkins.
Will says caterpillars are all over his trees, bushes and his shed. “I’ve got all kinds of oak, maple, cherry, apple all kinds of trees around me that the infestation is just unbelievable. They have taken the leaves off everything,” says Will. And it appears these bugs don’t care for any vegetables…they’ve been targeting Will’s fruit. “Seven apple trees and probably 16 blueberry bushes and they’re just wiped right out. I am really hoping they’re going to come back next year, you know if they don’t have leaves are they going to survive the season to get the nutrients they need?”
Will isn’t the only one experiencing a serve gypsy moth infestation. Glenville Town Supervisor, Chris Koetzle, says several constituents reached out to him with similar concerns. The town has been working closely with the DEC on how to handle these critters.
“We don’t know why this has occurred like this and we don’t know this it’s going to happen again next year…Unfortunately, in this stage of the life cycle, the DEC has indicated there’s really not a lot you can do that’s practical. They’re talking about individually drowning the caterpillar which there are millions of them so that’s not really practical so we’re kind of stuck in a situation right now where we don’t have a lot of answers to address this problem,” says Koetzle.
According to the DEC, their populations spike in numbers roughly every 10-15 years but these outbreaks are usually ended by natural causes such as disease and predators.
With not much luck getting rid of these bugs, Will hopes his infestation won’t get any worse. “I was just talking to a couple of my neighbors and they’re saying they have them in their houses now. Fortunately for me, I haven’t seen them in my house yet, but I sure won’t be happy if I do.”
the DEC says these caterpillars will likely disappear in July. You’ll see nests up in the trees and they’ll eventually become moths.