Want some good environmental news? Sure you do! How about this:

“After 14 years of effort, we have successfully converted winter moth, a major new defoliator invading eastern New England, into a non-pest, presumably on a permanent basis. …  We have averted what was shaping up to be another major invasion calamity for the entire United States comparable to gypsy moth.”

That comes from this report out of UMass-Amherst, which discusses a program that involved rearing and releasing a parasitic fly known as Cyzenis albicans  that is a natural enemy of the winter moth, which came here from Europe: “Outbreaks with defoliation were first noted at sites north and south of Boston before 2003 and these spread over most of eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, southeastern Connecticut and coastal Maine over the next decade. Once the infestation took hold, the caterpillars caused widespread damage to trees, orchards and blueberries across the region.”

I hadn’t heard of the winter moth, probably because it’s mostly a coastal problem (inland is too cold in winter for it). But I’ll take any good news about an invasive pest I can get!


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