New York was due for an outbreak of gypsy moth caterpillars – and they’re certainly here.
The Department of Environmental Conservation says an outbreak happens every 15 years, and lasts about two to three years.
This year, the crawlers have been out as far as the eastern Adirondacks, which is unlike years past.
These outbreaks can cause damage to thousands of trees because the moths like to eat the leaves of certain types of trees, according to DEC Forester Robert Cole.
"Aside from oak, they'll go after aspen, willow, apples, and in the absence of those favorite hosts, they'll move over to blue spruce, white pine, even hemlock trees, so we are seeing some significant damage of those alternate hosts,” he said.
The DEC has received several complaints about the caterpillars, but Cole says there is no eradication program for these insects through the DEC, because they typically go away on their own.
To control gypsy moth caterpillars, homeowners can scrape eggs off of trees or other buildings or spray insecticides, but Cole says that may only work when the insects are small.
Cole hosted a Facebook live about the outbreak, which you can view below: