Gypsy Moths Causing Issues in Lower Northern Michigan

Some communities in the lower part of northern Michigan are seeing their trees, and for some, their homes, be overtaken with Gypsy Moths.

Gypsy Moth Pic“I can’t remember the last time I saw any Gypsy Moth worms here,” said Yvonne Coughlin from Mt. Pleasant.

Coughlin can’t believe the amount of Gypsy Moths around, and on, her home.

“We have sprayed, we’ve gotten ant spray and that’ll kill them, but there’s so many of them,” she said. “The back of the house is awful. They’re plastered all over it.”

Coughlin said the Gypsy Moths have prevented her and her family from enjoying the outdoors.

“We usually picnic outside and I don’t go outside at all because they’re just all over,” she said.

Mecosta Osceola Lake Conservation District Forester Rick Lucas says that’s the biggest concern they get about Gypsy Moths.

“They’re just not able to do a lot of those activities when the Gypsy Moth is real active,” he said.

Lucas says Gypsy Moths were brought to the U.S. intentionally back in the 1800s to facilitate the silk industry. They first started showing up in Michigan around the 1950s.

He says the spraying for Gypsy Moths that some counties do are for suppression, not eradication.

“If everything happens the way you want it to with the timing of the application, [the pesticide] makes it so it suppresses the numbers to the extent that people can enjoy their outdoor activities without all the nuisance,” said Lucas.

Right now, Gypsy Moths are still feeding on leaves from oak and aspen trees, and will cocoon within the next week.

“The last few years, those areas with that high prevalence and composition are going to be the areas, the hotspots, where they’ll show up,” he said.

Lucas says its jarring for homeowners to see their trees almost bare after the gypsy moths have eaten, but hope is not lost for the trees.

“The tree will actually releaf yet this year,” he said. “Probably the best thing that a landowner can do is recognize that we’re having a hot dry summer. Watering [trees] an inch of water a week will do wonders in helping that tree through that stressful period.”

He recommends using really soapy water and submerging the Gypsy Moths as an effective way to get rid of the pest.