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Invasion of the Moth Caterpillars

Seth McConnell
Denver Post

There’s a new visitor overtaking Colorado’s front range this summer, reports The Denver Post. Black-tusked tussock moth caterpillars have spread across 25,000 acres of the state in a single year. Authorities have spent almost $300,000 on a helicopter chemical assault to stop them.

The caterpillars subsist on fir trees While steering clear of endangered species and waterways, a chopper sprayed a biological insecticide over the affected areas. The chemical is known as Foray 48B.

Environmentalists grew concerned about the spread of the insecticide, and the Forest Service attempted to allay their fears. “The purpose is to minimize the spread and intensity” said Forest Service spokesman Lawrence Lujan. “The Forest Service is committed to ecological restoration, which includes maintaining and restoring healthy and diverse landscapes in the face of climate change and other stressors.”

Meanwhile, the  caterpillars have devoured all the needles off many trees in the state.