Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association Rallies Volunteers in Fight Against Gypsy Moth Defoliation
More than 120 concerned citizens support CLWA events at Bare Hill, Gannett Hill and Stid Hill to destroy millions of caterpillar eggs.
May 13, 2021 — Canandaigua, NY — More than 120 CLWA volunteers attended three Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association (CLWA) Gypsy Moth Scout and Scrape-a-thons at Bare Hill in Rushville, Gannett Hill in Naples, and Stid Hill in Canandaigua, helping reduce the number of gypsy moth caterpillars hatching this spring by an estimated 22,014,000.
The Gypsy Moth Scout and Scrape-a-thons were held at Bare Hill Unique Area on April 17, Ontario County Park at Gannett Hill on April 23, and at Stid Hill Wildlife Management Area on May 1. CLWA board members and volunteers participated in the three, two-hour workshops and, after a brief orientation, scraped an estimated 27,500 egg masses. According to the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC), a gypsy moth egg mass can contain 300 to 1,000 eggs. CLWA calculated the events in total prevented approximately 22,014,000 gypsy moth caterpillars from reaching adulthood and negatively affecting already stressed hardwood trees in the parks.
“As the pandemic approached its one-year anniversary of restrictions, school closings, and cancelling of events, we wanted to hold a socially-safe, environmentally sensitive, in-person, outdoor event aimed at mitigating the invasive and ‘naturalized’ gypsy moth,” said CLWA Board Member and Event Organizer Lynn Klotz. “I am truly impressed by the number of volunteers who came to our events, many even traveling from outside of the watershed area.”
Awareness and success of the Scout and Scrape-a-thons were due in large part to support from multiple CLWA partners, including the NYS DEC, Ontario County Dept. of Public Works, Finger Lakes PRISM, Ontario County Soil and Water Conservation District, Fingers Lakes Museum, and local author and retired Finger Lakes Community College professor Martin Dodge.
Garrett Koplun, Forester, Division of Lands and Forests, NYS DEC, said, “Many thanks to CLWA for the extra effort the organization has put into mitigating the negative impact of the gypsy moth this spring. Keeping our trees and forests healthy and vigorous is becoming an increasing challenge. Success depends upon public stewards being informed, getting involved, and reporting problems.”
Each Scrape-a-thon volunteer received a native sapling for participating, and CLWA is grateful to Wayne County Soil & Water Conservation District for donating extra saplings to the cause.
“This is incredible! Very impressive numbers, both in eggs scraped and volunteers participating. Thank you again for coordinating this effort. I think this was a great success for educating the public about forest health concerns and how they relate to the lake. Now hopefully your efforts, and maybe help from nature, can provide some relief this summer and cripple the regional moth population. Time will tell,” said Michael Palermo, Biologist, Division of Fish and Wildlife, NYS DEC.
About Gypsy Moths
Gypsy moths were introduced to the US in 1869, when the species was brought from France to Medford, Massachusetts, in the hope they could breed with silkworms to create a hardier variety of silkworm and develop a silk industry in the US. More than 150 years later, gypsy moths can now be found in 22 states and have been well-established in New York for more than a century. Unfortunately, despite major state and national efforts to stop or slow the spread of gypsy moth, it is naturalized in New York.
Gypsy moths have devastated millions of forested acres in the Northeast, defoliating both deciduous and conifer trees, both of which are vital in protecting lakes by controlling erosion, reducing contaminants from entering waterways, and providing habitat for native pollinators, plants, and animals. They feed on more than 300 species of trees and shrubs although they prefer oaks, causing extensive tree mortality. Deciduous trees can withstand up to three years of defoliation, but conifers often die after the first year, especially if already stressed.
A video of the gypsy moth egg masses on a tree at Ontario County Park can be found here: https://youtu.be/3_LoH_QVTT4
What Property Owners Can Do
Removing and destroying the egg masses is essential as they can survive if dropped to the ground, and hatch beginning in April through May. Removing egg masses is best done prior to the hatching, and destroying the eggs by soaking them in soapy water for 48 hours is recommended.
The DEC Division of Lands and Forests responded to the regional gypsy moth outbreak in 2020 by offering two webinars on the subject for outreach and education to landowners, consultant foresters, municipalities, arborists, and other impacted groups. More information can be found on the NYS DEC website here.
The Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association (CLWA) is a non-profit, membership-based organization working to preserve, protect, and restore Canandaigua Lake and its watershed for future generations to enjoy and explore. Our mission is to inspire the entire watershed community to become stewards of Canandaigua Lake through education, scientific research, and advocating sound public policy. For more information about CLWA, visit www.canandaigualakeassoc.org, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
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Press Contact: Sue Martenson, CLWA
978 905 9582