Tuesday, June 21, 2016
A Plague of Our Own Making
Yes, sorry for the carbon footprint, I sort of got stuck into this situation, but I drive into Providence most workdays on Route 6. The road passes through woods in Foster and Scituate. The last couple of days I said to myself, "Holy shit, the trees are all dead!" I thought it was a sign of the apocalypse -- I'm talking miles of leafless oaks and maples.
It turns out they aren't dead, they've been defoliated by the gypsy moth caterpillar. I didn't grok it at first because my part of Windham County has been spared. The trees can come back, although a second defoliation can do them in. So the woods aren't doomed, but this is a really disgusting situation for homeowners. Caterpillar shit literally falls like rain.
The gypsy moth was introduced to North America by a clown who thought he could start a silk industry with them. He claimed some sort of affiliation with Tufts University, actually, which is shameful to me since I have studied and taught there. Anyway, they're on a level with kudzu as noxious invasive species go. Here's a fun portfolio of houses that have been completely devoured by the weed from hell.
Of course, Europeans are a noxious invasive -- well, not species, but culture -- here in the Americas. Just by way of analogy.