BOSTON (CBS) – “They’re kind of nasty and gross,” said Randy Maniglia as she watched swarm of moths around a parked car in broad daylight. “I’ve never seen as many moths as I’ve seen in the last couple of days.”
Moths stopped a plane from deboarding after landing in Boston. “Delayed by moths…That’s a new one,” tweeted Josh Deering, a producer at 98.5 The Sports Hub. “We are nearing 20 minutes of moth related delay here at Logan.”
He posted a photo of the moths resting in the jetway as he finally left after midnight Tuesday morning.
It’s not your imagination. The head of the Massachusetts Forest Health Program, Ken Gooch, says the gypsy moth population has increased tenfold. He blames several years of unusually dry weather. He says normally, a Japanese fungus kills significant numbers before they’re caterpillars, but that fungus can’t thrive in very dry conditions, so the moths do.
“The damage is pretty much done,” said arborist Mark Bezreh. His company, ArborCare Tree Service, has been inundated with gypsy moth calls. “It’s a tough thing for the summer. There’s not much we can do about it, so people just have to be on guard for the following spring.”
He says trees can be saved when treated with pesticides in May and June.
“I’ve seen them outside my house, on my doors, on my windows,” said Rob Savino, who lives in Winthrop. “If I park my truck and leave the windows open they all fly inside.”
Gooch says they’re mating, and will be around for a couple weeks until they lay eggs and die. Unless there’s an unexpected drenching for weeks or months, experts say they’ll be back in even greater numbers next summer.