- Associated Press - Friday, June 10, 2016

WESTERLY, R.I. (AP) - Gypsy moths have invaded Rhode Island and eastern Connecticut.

Paul Ricard of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management tells The Westerly Sun (http://bit.ly/22Ymbpr ) that the infestation of the leaf-eating caterpillars appears to be worse this year than it has in the recent past. Trees defoliated by gypsy moths can become stressed and die.

John Campanini of the Rhode Island Tree Council says it’s worse south of East Greenwich, Rhode Island.

University of Connecticut Horticulturalist Carol Quish says homeowners in eastern Connecticut have told her that they can see the caterpillars crawling up tree trunks and hear them chewing on leaves.

Experts blamed the mild winter. They also said a fungus that kills gypsy moth caterpillars was slow to develop.

The caterpillars are expected to be gone by July 4.

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