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Spongy moth: Ontario, Livingston, Yates counties could be hardest hit by invasive moth this summer

The spongy moth is coming back. Previously known as the gypsy moth, the nuisance is expected to return to New York this summer.

Trees and foliage could be damaged as result of the passing.

The spongy moth is an invasive species that caused damage to leaves and foliage in 2021. The caterpillars who morph into moths ate their way through local parks and backyards.


Experts say more than 730,000 acres of defoliation was mapped. This year, egg mass surveys were completed and it shows a major problem for the summer months.

Ontario, Livingston, and Yates counties saw some of the most significant damage in the Finger Lakes.

“Right now the caterpillars are very small, dark color, about a quarter-inch long… in the next couple of weeks, they’ll molt into the later instars where they get those characteristic red or blue dots on their back and as they age and feed more, they’ll get larger and the actual moth we’ll see probably later in July,” DEC Forester Rob Cole told RochesterFirst.com.

Experts say to watch their advancement closely in residential areas. If there aren’t a lot of them- squishing them is a simple answer. If there are larger quantities of them trapping is possible.



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