Could The NH Gypsy Moth Caterpillar Ever Return To 1981 Destruction Levels?
New Hampshire's North Country has been besieged with gypsy moth caterpillars and this destruction of foliage will likely impact tourism this fall. Do you remember how bad things were in 1981?
Watching this WMUR piece really brought me back to the bad old days of the summer of 1981.
My entire life's focus as an 8 year old was to spend as much time as possible at my Grandparent's camp in Effingham NH.
Even though the swimming and fishing weren't directly affected by the damage done by the unending army of ugly leaf crunching worms, the scenery was something that I still can't forget.
It looked exactly like it was winter, yet, in the middle of July. The evergreens still had needles but not one leaf could be found on all the normally beautiful, lush green mountains that circled the lake.
Without any snow to offset the stark landscape, it just looked like acres and acres of devastation. Like there had been a tremendous forest fire, yet, it was all from millions of disgusting worms.
I had thought that the world I'd known would never recover, but thankfully, the next year was quite a bit better. A fungus called Entomophaga Maimaiga really did a number on the gypsy moth in 1982 and each subsequent year, things got better and better.
In 1992, a resurgence of Gypsy Moth caterpillars ripped through almost all the foliage once again. However, something strange happened.
I thought it was a miracle at the time, but the attack happened early enough in the spring that the trees regrew their leaves.
Hopefully, the recent rains bring about the fungus that mitigates that dreadful worm and maybe next year will be better.
And thankfully, it will never look as bad as it did back in the summer of 1981.