Wet Spring a Boon for Shenandoah National Park

Plant-killing insect a no-show

Monday, Jun 6, 2011  |  Updated 3:46 PM EDT
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Wet Spring a Boon for Shenandoah National Park

dicogm, Shutterstock

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At a time when many of us have had enough already with the stink bugs, ticks and mosquitoes, at least there’s one plague likely to avoid Shenandoah National Park this year – gypsy moths.

Wet conditions have kept the gypsy moth population low in the park and there will be no spraying this year.

It’s becoming a pattern. Park officials have not had to spray to control gypsy moths since 2008, Shenandoah spokeswoman Karen Beck-Herzog told the Daily News-Record.

A wet spring can boost a naturally occurring fungus that is fatal to the insects, according to U.S. Forest Service entomologist Donna Leonard.

Oak, spruce and maple trees are especially tempting to the gypsy moth palate, but the caterpillars feed on more than 500 species of plants.

A single defoliation can kill evergreens, Leonard told the Daily News-Record.

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