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Gypsy Moth Tree Damage Minimal in NJ; Aerial Survey Says

It’s considered the lowest recorded defoliation since the State Department of Agriculture’s Gypsy Moth Suppression Program began in 1970.  The statewide gypsy moth aerial survey showed 1,068 acres of trees in 21 municipalities in 10 counties received moderate to heavy damage this year.

“Fighting the gypsy moth problem in a multitude of ways and partnering with the State Department of Environmental Protection, counties, municipalities and the military bases has led to the lowest populations of the damaging insect in the 42-year history of the program,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher.  “But this success can be short-lived if we do not continue intense surveillance, as well as treatment, when necessary.”

Tree damage was found in Atlantic, Burlington, Cape May, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Monmouth, Ocean, Salem, Sussex and Warren counties.  The most damage was found in Mullica Township in Atlantic County, which had 344 acres of mostly moderate defoliation.

Gypsy moth caterpillars lay their eggs on trees and emerge in May and early June.  This year, no spray program was needed due to low populations of the bugs.

A residential or recreational forest must have an average of more than 500 egg masses per acre and be at least 50 acres in size to qualify for the spray program.  One egg mass contains up to 1,000 eggs.  Egg mass surveys will be conducted this fall to determine if any areas qualify.

Find more details from the survey here.

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