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
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.
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
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.