Local arborists busy keeping invasive caterpillars at bay - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Local arborists busy keeping invasive caterpillars at bay

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -

Caterpillars of various species continue to make their presence known in western Massachusetts as they cover houses and help themselves to tree leaves everywhere.

In fact, some can devastate your landscape, and some can actually cause an allergic reaction if you touch them while others are just a nuisance.

Arborist Gregg Corso at Arbortech Tree Services in Springfield has been busy keeping caterpillars at bay. 
 
"We've been seeing a couple of nice 70 and 80 hour work weeks the past couple of weeks trying to keep up with everybody's caterpillar and insect concerns," said Corso. 

Corso told Western Mass News one of the reasons people are calling is because of the damage some caterpillars have been causing to their Birch trees.
 
"We're seeing Dusky Birch Sawfly. What we'll see is they'll do damage to younger trees or individual branches on larger trees but typically they're an aesthetic pest," Corso added.
 
This means your trees will look bad, but will likely be fine. Gypsy Moths, as Western Mass News has widely reported, are a different story.

"Gypsy Moth is the big one. They're about two inches long right now and will be around for about another month. That's a particularly devastating insect pest," Corso noted. 
 
Other common caterpillars can cause health issues if touched.
 
"Typically its the hairy looking caterpillars that have histamines in them that will affect people and give them rashes and such," Corso said.
 
So how do you know your Gypsy Moth from your Dusky Birch Sawfly to all the other caterpillars out there right now?
 
"Identification is key. If you don't know what you're looking at damaging your tree get an arborist out there to take a look at them. We can tell you whether or not they're something that will hurt your tree, something we should be concerned about and whether we should be thinking about treatment or not," Corso concluded.
 
A quick treatment, Corso said, could mean the difference between a healthy tree and a dead tree.

The good news is, arborists say the larval, or caterpillar, stage for most typically lasts about seven weeks, and they should start to become less active by the end of June.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. 

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