Moth Ruins Christmas
One of the iconic images of Christmas is the Christmas tree decked in ornaments and lights softly glowing in the middle of a room with piles of presents stacked underneath. One tradition many American families partake of is the event of going out with one’s family and cutting down their own Christmas tree. This festive tradition may be impossible for many families this year due to an outbreak of the deadly (to pine trees, that is) tussock moth. This flying pest is decimating pine trees by the thousands, leaving scarcely any left for happy families to harvest for Christmas.
The tussock moth harms the pine trees by placing their caterpillars in the new growth of the upper part of the trees. The caterpillars then eat their way down the tree until they reach the sturdier bottom and burrow deeper into the tree where they weave their cocoon and take a little nap till their ready to burst forth into the world. This burrowing and cocoon cycle of the moths happens in four year cycles. Hopefully we’re at the end of that cycle, so Christmas can go on next year without this little bugger messing with our family traditions.
Do you and your family go out to cut your own tree for Christmas? Have you been affected by this destructive little creature?