Invasive Species Spotlight: The Winter Moth
The invasive winter moth defoliation was first recorded in Maine in 2012 and now the moths have been detected from Kittery to Mount Desert Island. The larvae (caterpillars) of winter moth feed on the leaves deciduous trees and shrubs such as oaks, maples, apples and blueberries, in early spring. Heavy defoliation for several consecutive years leads to branch dieback and tree mortality. Winter moth defoliation has contributed to tens of thousands of acres of oak mortality in Massachusetts and now there is oak mortality in Cape Elizabeth.
Entomologists at the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Maine Forest Service (MFS) are gearing up for winter moth with two initiatives. On Wednesday, November 29th they will be setting out parasitic flies (Cyzenis albicans) in South Portland as part of a biocontrol project to control the invasive winter moth (Operophtera brumata). The MFS is also encouraging the public to report winter moth sightings through an online survey: http://www.maine.gov/
For more information: http://www.maine.gov/dacf/mfs/forest_health/documents/winter_moth.pdf