LANSING, Mich. — Gypsy moths are invading Michigan and the DNR is seeing more caterpillars hatch this year.
The caterpillars feed on the leaves which can result in defoliation and if it's bad enough, the tree could die.
The gypsy moths are leaving holes in the leaves and now moth casings cover the trees at the Potter Park Zoo.
"For the past two years we have had really dry summers and that has caused an increase in the moths which then crawl up the trees and eat the leaves," Brett Kaschinske, the Lansing Parks and Rec director.
To control the Gyspy Moth Population, the City of Lansing sprayed the parks that saw heavy defoliation including Potter, Oak, Bancroft and Moorse River Park.
"It puts that chemical on the leaf," explained Kaschinske. "Basically they get a belly ache and then we see less caterpillars here throughout the year."
Certified arborist, Paul Dykema says the spraying is working.
"I found a lot of caterpillars in the park here that are dying which is good news for Mid-Michigan," said Dykema, owner of The Visiting Arborists.
Although Lansing parks have been sprayed, gypsy moths could be in your backyard.
The dnr says gypsy moths feed on more than 300 tree species, but prefer oak, linden, aspen and maple trees.
They are advising homeowners to take action.
"They can use bands around trees that can catch the caterpillars, they can pull caterpillars off and they can scrape off the egg masses and usually crush the eggs or soak them in soapy water which will kill the eggs," said Justin Wieferich, a DNR Forest Health Specialist.
The hopes with the recent wet weather, more fungi, can grow and kill of gypsy moths naturally.
"Moving forward, it should release more spores to the fungus to get after these populations and cut them back to reasonable levels," said Wieferich.
The city will be counting eggs this fall to seeing they will have to continue the gypsy moth spray next spring.
The DNR will also be closely monitoring: Barry, Ionia and Washtenaw counties this summer.
Those areas have been significantly impacted by gypsy moth caterpillars this year.
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