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Spongy moth caterpillar outbreak recedes

Jun 15, 2023 1:03 pm

H. Rose Schneider reports in the Times Union that officials with the state Department of Environmental Conservation say that the infestation of spongy moth caterpillars is better this year. The caterpillars with red and blue spots, over-sized heads, and long hairs that can irritate the skin were everywhere in 2021 and 2022. The outbreak began in the Finger Lakes in 2020 and peaked statewide in 2021, the DEC says. Last year it was mostly confined to the Hudson and Champlain valleys, and this year was mostly in the lower Hudson Valley. Timothy McCabe, entomology curator at the State Museum, says the spongy moth caterpillars have a cyclical nature. McCabe said, “What happens is you get an outbreak in an area seldom more than a year.” The invasive species arrived in Massachusetts from Europe in 1869. Now they have spread as far west as Minnesota and as far south as North Carolina., according to the U.S. Forest Service. Read more about this story in the Times Union.

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