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Michigan Department of Natural Resources warns about invasive moth caterpillars

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As the weather gets warmer heading into the summer, Michiganders could start seeing an invasive species of moth begin to hatch. The insect can pose a threat to native plants.

Spongy moth caterpillars are expected to start hatching soon in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. The insects contribute to a process called defoliation.

That means they consume all the leaves on trees, leaving plants vulnerable to diseases and other pests.

Deborah McCullough is a professor of forest entomology at Michigan State University. She says residents concerned about infestations on their property should watch out for tan, fuzzy egg masses of unhatched moths.

Lots of egg masses means you’re going to have lots of caterpillars, and you may need to take some kind of management for the trees around your house.”

McCullough says the insects and their eggs can be disposed of by sweeping them into a bucket of soapy water.

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