Gypsy Moth update, from the expert

. 1 min read

From our own environmental scientist, Mike Case:

Regarding the gypsy moth egg
cases, it is good that you could remove some. Remember that many cases
are cryptic (underneath things, in trunk crevasses, etc.) The
caterpillars are now emerging as 2 mm long instars, climbing to the tops of
trees on the nearby Nescopeck ridge and dispersing on 20 cm silk threads on the
wind. The babies are all over our farm now, blown in from Nescopeck Mt.
ridge. In about 5 days, they will start feeding. So, if you have
any favorite small trees on your property, now is the time to buy some BT
(Bacillus thurengensis) concentrate and spray when you are sure it is not going
to rain for a couple of days. The BT spores are ingested by the
caterpillars as they eat the leaves. The BT (which is organic approved)
will kill the caterpillars within 24 hours.
There is nothing you can do to
protect the canopy of larger trees. However, the caterpillars when
large will migrate down (or up) the trunk some. So, a band of some
sticky tape (like Duct Tape) or sticky roll of material that you can buy at
Agway or a garden store might help a little bit. Realistically, there is
a tremendous reproductive potential in the number of egg cases and dispersal
conditions this year. The only thing that might collapse the population
now is a 32 F night with some rain or cold snow.
Probably in about 5-10 days
people are really going to start to notice the impacts of the defoliation and
start calling the local TV stations. They will do some investigation and
maybe talk to a few scientists like me only to discover the inadequacies and
crazy expense to landowners of the PA aerial spraying program. 
The practical and scientific
reality is that PA forestry resources are a contiguous, integrated system which
are important to the whole state. Piecemeal treatments of selected blocks
of land for landowners who can afford the cost of aerial spraying do not
address the issue of long-distance aerial dispersal of the caterpillar larvae
early in the game.
Luzerne County opted out of the spray program 2 years ago. Now, Keri Skevarla, one of my former students and head of the county spray program, is trying to catch them up.

So, pray for 32 F and a light snow!