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Health, Science and Environment

Gypsy Moth populations are spiking this year



Experts said the lower peninsula had nearly one million acres defoliated by gypsy moths in 2020. 

They’ll calculate this year’s damage later this summer, but it’s also expected to be significant.

The heaviest defoliation right now is reported in Montmorency, Alpena, Oscoda, Alcona, Manistee and Lake counties

Deb McCullough is a professor of Entomology at Michigan State University. 

“Michigan Department Natural and Resources flew a lot of the state land in northern Michigan, northern lower Michigan in particular and they mapped 900,000 acres of moderate to severe defoliation pretty much all of it attributed to gypsy moths”

McCullough said by next summer at the latest, the population of gypsy moths should collapse back to a low density. 


About 150 miles north in Rosscommon, Julie Crick is an natural resource educator with the Michigan State University extension service. 


“Major outbreak in Michigan was in the late 90s and about 20 years later here we are with another population explosion.”

Crick said municipalities have sprayed trees to kill the moths. She also suggested using double-sided tape on trees to help keep caterpillars from climbing back up the trunk of a tree.

Gena is reporting as part of the Michigan News Group Internship. A collaboration between WCMU and eight community newspapers. Gena is based at the Big Rapids Pioneer