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Monday, June 18, 2007

Gypsy Moth Caterpillars Take Toll On Knoll

(HARRISBURG) - Wildlife officials fear the midstate is in the throws of one of its worst-ever invasions of gypsy moth caterpillars, as evidenced by the way the insects have attacked Lieutenant Governor Catherine Baker Knoll.

"She's looking more overwhelmed than in previous seasons, but she should pull through," said Eric Naguski, who coordinates Dauphin County's gypsy moth suppression program.

Experts recommend wrapping petroleum jelly-covered duct tape at the bottom of a tree trunk to prevent the insects from invading. A spokeswoman for the lieutenant governor said officials will likely take such action with Knoll should her condition not improve in the next day or so.

As for next year, the spokeswoman said Knoll will be sprayed down with a semi-diluted insecticide prior to the caterpillars' prime breeding season -- likely sometime in March or April.