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Mild Temperatures Expected To Cause Explosion Of Winter Moths

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Karen Twomey Karen Twomey
Karen Twomey is a reporter for WBZ News Radio 1030 and has spent the...
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BOSTON (CBS) — In some places they’re so thick it’s like paint on your house, or a carpet on your lawn; they’re winter moths and they’re back.

With milder temperatures expected this week, experts say if you haven’t seen them yet, you soon will.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s KarenTwomey reports

Winter moths started showing up in significant numbers in this area about 15 years ago and because they’re an invasive species, it’s hard to stop them.

Winter is when they breed and the rest of the year they live in the ground except for a few weeks in the spring when the new larvae hatch.

Professor Joseph Elkinton is a University of Massachusetts at Amherst entomologist who’s not only studied winter moths, but knows how to stop them long-term.

“100,000 caterpillars per tree, that translates to 10 million per acre, there’s many square miles of infestation so we’re looking at trillions,” he said.

Elkinton has introduced a natural predator to the moths, a parasitic fly which he says will eventually end this infestation.

Until then, you can hire an arborist to come out in the early spring to spray your trees but Elkinton says it’s a pricey and short-term fix.

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