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Start New Gypsy Moth Campaign

100 County Residents to Be Employed in Fighting Destructive Pest

A new campaign against the gypsy moth, supplementing present endeavors to curb the pest and offering employment to 100 county residents, is being prepared.

Director Albert F. Burgess of the local office of the U. S. D. A., which carries on the federal moth work in nine northeastern states, in an interview today explained the objectives and methods of the latest campaign, made possible by the recent allocation of work relief funds by President Roosevelt.

Worst in History

Gypsy infestation in the county and in Hampshire east of the Connecticut river, he stated, was the worst in history. The destructive forest pest is found in lesser numbers west of the river and extending into the border zone of Berkshire county.

Already at work on the problem, Burgess explained, were the municipal moth officers (an office peculiar to Massachusetts) and several CCC camps which have been dedicated to this task. He stated the danger of forest destruction was great enough for all these agencies to redouble their efforts and expressed hope that some towns which now lack spraying equipment would find it possible to obtain pumpers.

The new crew which is to advance the fight in this county will not be directly recruited by the U. S. D. A. As with other WPA undertakings, the men will be selected from those who register with the national re-employment office in the Henricon block on Main street.

Advised to Register

Preference will be given to those already on relief lists but unemployed who are still self-supporting are advised to register at the office on the chance of later employment in the moth work or in private industry.

The work, of course, is not confined to this county. About 500 men will fight the gypsy in the four western counties, with a similar battle against browntails in eastern counties. Burgess tomorrow is leaving for Pennsylvania to organize the work in that section of his territory. He said that much work would also be done in: Cheshire county, N. H. and other areas extending north along the Connecticut river. Details of this field of operation will not be decided until surveys have been made to determine points of greatest infestation.

Map Infestation

The immediate task will be to map the campaign. Men will be sent through the woods to spot instances of severe infestation and they will probably do some thinning of growths most favored by the caterpillar. Oaks, birches, willows and poplars are the favorite foods of the pest but when half grown or in severe infestations, they also consume foliage of pine, hemlock, spruce and maple. Thinning will not only remove some of the food source but give the workers more free access to infested areas.

The caterpillar stage has passed this year and egg clusters are not being laid by the moths. They will continue up to about mid-August. While the chief weapon of man is the destruction of these clusters, Burgess said that banding of trees against the climbing caterpillars and spraying of park, street and small forest areas were also useful supplements. Spraying, he said, is often an aid in isolating infested spots.

He re-iterated the intent of the division to co-operate fully with town officers charged with suppression of the pest, with intent to supplement their work and reach areas impossible for the town forces.

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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New Deal programs often addressed social and environmental problems not directly related to the Great Depression. The Civilian Conservation Corps, for example, was active in flood control and programs to restore American forests. In New England, the Corps was active in efforts to eliminate the Gypsy Moth. This moth was introduced to the Northeast in the late nineteenth century by a breeder of silk caterpillars. By the turn of the century the moth, in its caterpillar form, had destroyed forests in the region by eating the leaves of hardwoods particularly oaks. As the article suggests, eliminating gypsy moths required training. Workers often climbed tall trees with ladders and ropes to eliminate moth larvae and caterpillars


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"Start New Gypsy Moth Campaign" article from Greenfield Daily Recorder-Gazette newspaper

publisher   Greenfield Daily Recorder-Gazette
date   Aug 3, 1935
location   Greenfield, Massachusetts
height   10.0"
width   1.5"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L08.028

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