Fungus kills Gypsy Moth caterpillars but moths may still be a problem

LEDYARD, Conn (WTNH) — News 8 returned to a Long Cove Road home two weeks after crawling Gypsy Moth caterpillars covered the house and garage door. Now those caterpillars and thousands of others covering the entire trunk of a nearby tree from bottom to top have been stopped dead in their tracks.

The fungus created by the May rains killed them as they entered adulthood.

Related Content: Fungus bringing Gypsy Moth caterpillar outbreak to an end

dead gypsy moth caterpillars 1 Fungus kills Gypsy Moth caterpillars but moths may still be a problem
(Photo: Tina Detelj/WTNH)

“All of a sudden they weren’t moving. You looked and they started to fold,” said homeowner Tony Sabilia.

He was happy to see something stop this year’s infestation.

“It was nasty especially after it rained,” said Sabilia. “It ended up actually being like a coating of slime on everything.”

But not all the caterpillars were killed before cocooning. Some will soon emerge as moths.

Related Content: Ledyard neighbors hope rain will help stop Gypsy Moth infestation

bug zapper 1 Fungus kills Gypsy Moth caterpillars but moths may still be a problem
(Photo: Tina Detelj/WTNH)

“They’re definitely moths around,” said Sabilia. “So they’re starting to appear.”

“The females do not fly. They attach to the tree. The males do fly,” Naomi Rodriguez told News 8 last month. She chairs Ledyard’s Ad Hoc Committee tackling the Gypsy Moth problem.

She suggests you destroy the cocoons and get a bug zapper to kill the males before they mate with the females and keep the infestation alive.

“That would help yes,” said Wayne Henson who works at Holdridge Home & Garden Showplace which sells bug zappers. “There are also in the works some traps that are using the pheromones that’s created by the moth to attract that male moth into those traps. We haven’t gotten it yet but we’re working on it.”

Rodriguez says one female moth can lay thousands of eggs.

She suggests you scrape off any egg sacks you see. They are small light tan colored clumps on tree trunks and other surfaces.

Once removed they can be submerged in soapy water to kill the eggs.

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