The Gypsy Moth in Connecticut
The gypsy moth has been causing damage to Connecticut’s trees for over 100 years. When the gypsy moth population is low, tree damage is fairly restricted. However, many towns throughout Connecticut have been facing severe gypsy moth outbreaks over the last few years. The damage done to trees in infested areas has been irreparable, and we receive many calls at Eric’s Tree Service from homeowners unsure how to proceed.
What Causes A Gypsy Moth Outbreak?
One of the major factors influencing the gypsy moth population is a specific type of fungus that keeps the pest population in check. This fungus requires rain to become activated, and the droughts in previous years have caused a decline in the fungus, thus allowing the gypsy moth population to grow significantly. Certain parts of the state, particularly the south-central and eastern Connecticut areas, have reached outbreak status of the gypsy moth population.
Signs of a Gypsy Moth Outbreak
1. Caterpillars, caterpillars, everywhere! The moth’s larvae, or caterpillars, infest trees and descend into lawns and nearby structures. In a severe outbreak, homeowners can’t ignore the incessant number of these pests invading their outdoor living space.
2. It feels like spring, but it looks like winter. Gypsy moths feed on the leaves of trees. In severe outbreaks, defoliation occurs to such an extent that your trees start to look barren and ready for winter, even though they should be budding green.
The Emerald Ash Borer
A small green beetle known as the Emerald Ash Borer is killing millions of ash trees. This invasive pest is not native to North America, and was first spotted on the continent in the early 2000’s. The appearance of this non-native pest is likely the result of foreign wood being used in shipping trade goods from overseas. It is the larvae, not the beetle, that cause the most damage to the ash tree. Larvae create galleries under the bark and tunnel into a tree’s cambium tissue, destroying the tree’s vascular system. With a tree unable to adequately receive nutrients, the tree dies quickly from infestation.
Signs of an Emerald Ash Borer Outbreak
1. Look for the capital D! The Emerald Ash Borer creates a D-shaped exit hole in the bark of an ash tree. The hole is a result of the adult beetle chewing it’s way out of the tree.
2. Bark Flecking & Blonding. Light patches of bark appear when birds are looking for insects. If you see birds pecking at your trees, it’s a sign of an insect infestation.
Protect Your Trees!
Preventative Inspection & Annual Injections
Annual inspections by a certified arborist can prolong the life of your trees. If your tree is still budding and producing leaves, a certified arborist can provide you with environmentally friendly options to support the health of your trees. If your trees have been suffering from infestation or infection, soil injections can be used if the tree still shows a healthy canopy. When a tree’s canopy begins to dissipate, or mushrooms appear at the base of the tree, treatment is most likely not the answer and removal is recommended.