- Associated Press - Saturday, June 4, 2016

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Rhode Island officials are warning homeowners statewide that caterpillars may cause short-term defoliation of trees over the next few weeks.

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management says high concentrations of caterpillars have been observed throughout the state.

State officials don’t plan to apply pesticide to control caterpillars at this time. They say the population will eventually decline naturally.

DEM says damage typically includes small holes in leaves or leaves chewed down to the veins, most commonly on oak trees and other hardwood species.

The agency says these conditions are temporary and should not cause long-term damage to otherwise healthy trees. Damaged trees should recover with the proper care.

DEM says homeowners may also opt to apply insecticides on their property.

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