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Gypsy moth attacks on Michigan trees expected this summer

Gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) on a raspberry leaf closeup

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Some of Michigan’s trees are likely to suffer attacks from leaf-munching gypsy moths in the coming weeks.

The Department of Natural Resources says the invasive pest caused widespread defoliation in the state from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s.

The moth feasts on foliage during its caterpillar stage. Officials say lots of caterpillars are hatching this spring.

Leaf loss has been reported in Barry, Ionia and Washtenaw counties. The problem is expected to spread.

DNR forest health specialist James Wieferich says the best way to protect trees is to promote their overall health. Forest pests target trees stressed from drought, old age or root damage.

Mature trees usually can withstand gypsy moth defoliation and simply grow more leaves. But they can suffer if it happens year after year.

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