For those of you who don’t have to deal with the “Black Rain Mess” of Gypsy Moth caterpillars in June, I’ve posted these pictures to give you an idea of what it is like for some folks in Wyoming Michigan. Despite aerial spraying of BT sprays by helicopters this spring, there are still many caterpillars making a big mess. The problem most likely was the difficulty in spraying this spring. Timing is everything and around the time of applications we endured some cool wet weather combined with persistant winds which always makes spraying difficult. You can blame Mother Nature on a well intended effort. The neighborhood is a good example of why monoculture plantings are not a good idea……in this case a neighborhood full of oak trees. When a problem comes it spreads like wildfire when a monoculture exists. As you can see from these pictures some transient caterpillars get caught in the sticky bands put up by residents but the mess of tatered leaf debris, caterpillars and the “discharge” they create makes a mess often refered to as “black rain”. You stand in the neighborhood and hear the sound of the black discharge and falling caterpillars “rain” on the rooftops, driveways and street. Hopefully next year the weather will be more cooperative in well timed spray. These outbreaks are cyclical and tend to crash with a build of natural predators and neighbors uniting on the attack. Neighbors can help by using sticky bands, using Imidicloprid drenches this fall at the base of trees, scooping and dropping caterpillars in soapy water and looking for tan colored egg masses this fall and winter and scraping them off and destroying them. For the duration I post these pictures to make the rest of you feel sorry for those struggling with this mess in my continued effort to make us all more “Bug-wiser”.