New Brunswick

Gypsy moths make yearly appearance in Fredericton

The city of Fredericton is looking at ways to combat a gypsy moth infestation.

The city of Fredericton is looking at ways to combat a gypsy moth infestation threatening street-side hardwoods.

Last year, more than 30,000 fuzzy caterpillars were trapped in the city.The Fredericton Tree Commission says this year's numbers are climbing fast, and the harmful pest must be controlled before it spreadsfurther.

City Forester Don Murray says one option would be to release a natural virus, but the problem is that the low-impact virus usually takes a year or two to catch on.

Murray says the harmful pest needs to be controlled while still outside the city.

"They claim it's the most devastating forest pest for eating on hardwoods and defoliating hardwood trees," Murray said Monday. "Our tree population on the streets in Fredericton is exclusively a hardwood species and the gypsy moth will eat every one of those."

Females are too large to fly, and can be identified through their whitish-beige colour. The males are greyish-brown.

In the summer of 2002, the moth larvae defoliated large tracts of forest around Gagetown, Cambridge-Narrows and Grand Lake.

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