Environmentalists have been battling with the gypsy moth ever since the French brought the insect to America in 1869. WNYC reports that this season, the pests have become a particular nuisance near West Point, putting the trees east of the Hudson River “at risk of defoliation.” Oak trees reportedly are at the highest risk:
“They take away all the leaves, and the trees can’t generate enough energy to survive,” said Jerry Carlson, Director of the Forest Health Program at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
But it’s not just trees. Contact with gypsy moth caterpillars can cause a severe allergic reaction, including a rash and hives. Some people with asthma have even been hospitalized.