The Paul Revere-like warning that the gypsy moths are descending arrived this week when the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced it was prepping for its annual tree dusting exercises.
But the DNR isn't the only army readying for battle. The physical plant is also preparing to go hand to hand with the little buggers, which feed on the college's stately oaks. A sign of the resistance will go up next week when the trunks of the trees are again wrapped in burlap—a now-familiar signal of spring around campus.
The physical plant gurus say the burlap wraps are treated with a chemical that knocks out any larvae attempting to climb up from the ground and into the tree canopies. It's necessary work. Michael Brady, physical plant director, says the pests originally infested oaks on the southern most edge of campus (in and around the poetry garden). By last spring, there were gypsy moths in the oaks on the residential side of campus, he says.
So, consider yourself well informed. The gypsy moths are coming. The gypsy moths are coming. And remember, if you need to hug a tree this spring, grab a non-wrapped trunk. You'll be glad you did.