Invasive gypsy moth caterpillars are pooping all over New York and eating so many leaves 'it looks like a nuke hit'

AN OUTBREAK of gypsy moth caterpillars has left upstate New York "looking like a nuke hit" as the bugs eat leaves and poop all over homes.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation says it is monitoring "elevated populations" of the critters that are "causing noticeable leaf damage."

Local resident Shannan Warick told their droppings "sound like it’s raining in the backyard."

She added: "It’s really disgusting."

Dwight Relation told The Press Republican: "They just kept eating and eating and eating. There’s no green vegetation at all.

"Everything’s gone. It almost looks like it got hit with a nuke, like a chemical, and it just killed everything in sight for hundreds of yards.”

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation said the gypsy moth populations are especially high in "Clinton, Warren, Saratoga, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Yates, and Orleans counties."

They added: "The caterpillars will begin to disappear in July as they become moths."

The moths are being reported in numbers not seen for a decade. It is not known why populations explode suddenly.

Officials recommend knocking the eggs off of trees or drowning the bugs in soapy water.

They warn against touching them as they can irritate skin, adding: "Egg masses can be destroyed by scraping them off trees or other structures and dropping them in a container of detergent.

"The caterpillars grow to about 2.2 inches in length. They have five pairs of raised blue spots followed by six pairs of raised red spots along its back.

"The hairs on their backs can cause mild to moderate skin irritation in some people."

Glenville Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle said: "They’re talking about individually drowning the caterpillar which there are millions of them so that’s not really practical so we’re kind of stuck in a situation right now where we don’t have a lot of answers to address this problem."

 Johnstown resident Will Wilkins told News10: "I’ve got all kinds of oak, maple, cherry, apple all kinds of trees around me that the infestation is just unbelievable. They have taken the leaves off everything.

"Seven apple trees and probably 16 blueberry bushes and they’re just wiped right out."

The DEC say the moths were "accidentally introduced in 1869 when they were brought to the U.S. in the hope that they could breed with silkworms to create a hardier variety of silkworm and develop a silk industry in the US."

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