New York homeowner experiences gypsy moth caterpillar outbreak

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GLENVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Have a gypsy moth caterpillar infestation? You’re not alone! Unfortunately, these critters are here to stay. This summer, the State Department of Environmental Conversation has seen a severe outbreak of these caterpillars.

For Glenville homeowner Peter Sweet, there’s too many caterpillars to count. Peter has beautiful property, but these furry caterpillars, ranging in all different sizes are making themselves comfortable in the trees and bushes.

“About a week ago, I noticed some smaller ones but didn’t think too much of it. I thought they’re little critters, they were in the outdoors, they’re going to crawl on things but not to this extent…I hope the leaves come back, some say they might some say they might not and we’re going to have to wait until next year,” says Peter. Officials from the DEC say leaves should eventually grow back on the healthy trees.

Peter has a green thumb, luckily, the caterpillars haven’t touched his vegetable garden, but they seem to be loving his roses and apples trees. Peter looked up tips online on how to get rid of these bugs. He placed duct tape around the tree, hoping they wouldn’t go passed the tape.

“Friends mention you have to spray early if you’re going to spray or do the different techniques that you have to start early,” says Peter.

Other homeowners are experiencing the same frustration. The DEC held a Zoom teleconference and Facebook live on Wednesday. People were asking the major question, how do you get rid of these caterpillars? The DEC says it’s hard to fully erase them once they become large, but there are ways to manage them.

“You can do the burlap trick — which you take a piece of burlap, wrap it around the tree and put a string horizontally through the middle then you can fold the burlap over. The caterpillars will start to going up in there looking for a place to pupate,” says NYSDEC Forester Rob Cole. Then you could scrap them off and place them in warm soapy water. The caterpillars will likely disappear in July, you’ll see them form nests and they’ll become moths.

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