It's 'Invasive Species Awareness Week' here in New York State. Officials with the Department of Conservation want you to be aware of this highly invasive and dangerous bug. The spongy moth, formerly the Gypsy moth has caused significant damage in the state, especially in Clinton, Warren, Saratoga, Monroe, Livingston, Ontario, Seneca, Yates, and Orleans counties.

NY Department of Environmental Conservation
NY Department of Environmental Conservation
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The spongy moth is a native of France and was accidentally introduced into the United States in 1869. It feeds on the leaves of many types of trees, including oak, maple, apple, crabapple, hickory, basswood, aspen, willow, birch, pine, spruce, and hemlock.

When outbreaks occur and populations are high (every 10-15 years in NY), thousands of acres of trees can be damaged. Although spongy moths do not pose a major threat to New York's forests, they are not native and their populations can reach high, destructive (outbreak) levels.

NY Department of Environmental Conservation
NY Department of Environmental Conservation
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The tree above shows the damage caused by spongy moths.

Invasive Species Awareness Week is June 6 through 12

In addition to the spongy moth, there are other species of plants and pests that New York State has issued warnings about.

Invasive species are non-native species that can cause harm to the environment, the economy or human health. Invasives come from all around the world. As international trade increases, so does the rate of invasive species introductions. Invasive species threaten nearly every aspect of our world and are one of the greatest threats to New York's biodiversity.

Below are five other insects that are considered invasive here in New York.

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