In 1869 a scientist named Étienne Léopold Trouvelot was studying ways to develop a silkworm industry in the town of Medford, Massachusetts. Trouvelot imported gypsy moths with the hopes of breeding them with silk worms. The moth larvae were accidentally dispersed in the area during the process. This was the act that set into motion the invasion of the moth species throughout the northeastern part of the country over the next century.

There have been several large outbreaks of gypsy moths (and their caterpillar form) over the years. But if you’re old enough you will almost certainly remember the outbreaks in the late 70s and early 80s that devastated New England. In 1981 over 12.9 million acres of trees were defoliated.

This year, the moths are back at it. With caterpillar infestations popping up around Rhode Island, Connecticut and beyond. So, what can you do to protect your trees from gypsy moths?

Understanding gypsy moths

Gypsy moths have been studied extensively over the years due to their alarming rate of spreading across North America. Scientists have carefully catalogued information on the growth and habits of the moths.

The moths have been known to eat hundreds of different species of plants in North America. However, they cause the most damage to oak and aspen trees. To protect the trees in your yard follow these tips.

Spraying for moths

Numerous methods of population control have been used on gypsy moths over the years. Due to their destructive and invasive nature, local and national government has even gotten involved in control gypsy moth populations.

Local governments often employ a technique of spraying insecticides to limit the damage caused by the gypsy moth caterpillars. However, this has not yet proven to be an effective longterm solution.

Fortunately, the moths do have several natural predators and population checks that help limit their spread.

Natural predation

Several species have depended on gypsy moths as a food supply over the years. The most common–and most effective–however, has been the white-footed mouse. Birds have also played a minor role in the predation of the moths.

The most effective natural enemy of gypsy moths is fungi. In times of high rain, the fungus (Entomophaga maimaiga) has had huge success rates in controlling moth populations.

Controlling gypsy moth caterpillars in your yard

If you’ve read or seen on the news that the moths are spreading in your area, don’t panic. Though they can be quite destructive, there are steps you can take to limit their impact on the trees of your yard.

  • Identify and destroy the egg masses. They are tear-drop shaped and 1-2 inches long. They are yellow-brown in color. Soak them in soapy water for two days to destroy them.
  • Wrap your trees. Several methods of trees wrapping have shown success in preventing the caterpillars from reaching the leaves. Among them are duct-tape and tanglefoot, as well as burlap strips.
  • Keep your yard clean. Moths lay their eggs on old stumps and branches that you can remove from your yard.
  • Use a trap. Gypsy moth traps lure the moths in and help you control them without spraying harmful chemicals in your yard.

 

 

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Puppies can be a great addition to any household. They’re cute, cuddly, loyal, and can grow to be a loving family member. However, when they are still small and untrained, puppies can wreak havoc on your home. There are also items that you should be aware of that could affect your puppy’s health In order to protect your house, and dog, from any permanent puppy damage, follow these tips.

  • A new puppy will be curious, so make sure to remove most items that are within reach, and not nailed down, to prevent them from becoming too destructive, or making themselves sick.
  • Believe it or not, some common, household plants can prove very toxic for dogs. To protect their fragile stomachs, familiarize yourself with these plants (see this article from Pet Education). Remove these plants from your home, or put them in a place where they cannot be reached.
  • Puppies will eat pretty much anything, so you will need to keep them from getting into your food, garbage, and cleaning supplies. Keep cleaning supplies in high cupboards, or use child locks on your lower cabinets, to prevent a nosy canine from getting in and using your bleach bottle as a chew toy. This same tip can go for food. Particular foods that can harm your dog include grapes, raisins, chocolate and coffee. For your garbage, try finding a locking garbage can, that way even if it gets tipped over, he cannot get into the bag and eat things that he shouldn’t. For smaller, bathroom trashcans, try to keep them up high and out of reach.
  • Close off stairways with a baby gate, until they have fully mastered going up and down the stairs safely.
  • To prevent the puppy from chewing on wooden legs of furniture, spray them with a disinfectant with a particular scent or smell that may deter them away from this object. Just make sure it is non-toxic! Vinegar may work just as well.
  • Keep cords and wires well out of reach. These can be a potential fire hazard, as well as could seriously injure the pup. You could bundle them together with clips, or get cord protectors. Also, anything on the floor level that is plugged into an electrical socket (i.e. phone charger, air-fresheners, etc), make sure to unplug those, as they could electrocute the puppy if they attempt to chew on it.
  • Make other spaces in and around your home puppy safe, as well. Your garage has many dangerous chemicals and objects that a puppy could easily get into if they start roaming around. Make sure everything is up high, or locked up tight.
  • For your yard, make sure you get rid of any plants that could be poisonous to dogs, as well as any yard decorations that are eye level to them and could get chewed up. Make sure your garden chemicals are not hazardous to animals. If they start chewing the grass or plants, they could become ill. To protect your wicker lawn furniture, try typing cloths around the legs to prevent your dog from chewing them.

As much as your home and the quality of your material possessions are important, your dog’s life is of much greater importance. Make sure to keep them safe, and your home less chewed up, by taking precautions before you bring Fido home!

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