Gypsy Moth Crew

by Ranger Dan Small

This photograph depicts the Lynn Woods Gypsy Moth crew and was probably taken sometime around 1907. These men were employed by the Park Commission in an attempt to control the spread of gypsy moths in the woods.

Gypsy moths were imported from France by E. Leopold Trouvelot in the late 1860’s. Mr. Trouvelot was interested in starting a silk industry in the United States and, after failing to find a suitable native species, he began importing and studying various exotic moths. He raised his subjects on trees in his backyard in Medford, Massachusetts, and eventually some escaped into the surround yards and trees. The first serious outbreak of gypsy moths was reported in 1882, which, coincidentally, was the same year he moved back to France.

By 1900, the moths had spread into Lynn Woods in sufficient numbers to start causing significant damage. The Park Commission started control measures in 1906, including spraying with arsenate of lead, tree banding (wrapping sticky burlap strips around the trunks of desirable trees), and treating egg cases with creosote. The crew depicted in the photograph all have large knives, which they probably used to scrape off the egg cases. They also have a rather large bicycle which, judging from the height of the seat, must have belonged to the tall fellow in the back.

Due to budgetary difficulties, control measures were never carried out consistently or suitably enough to eradicate the pest. Beginning in 1908, however, natural enemies began to significantly reduce gypsy moth damage and eventually the crew was disbanded and all control measures ceased. Gypsy moths can still be found in the Lynn Woods, but mice, birds, and various parasites keep the population in check.

Picture of Gypsy Moth Crew from the collection of Harvey Robinson


See Also

Our Purpose

Earth Day 2005

Message from the Incoming President

Which is the highest hill in Lynn?

Calendar of Events

Wild Owls Lead to Serenity by Lisa Capone

Meet the Board Members!

Stone Walls in Lynn, Salem, and Peabody by Leslie Courtemanche

Annual Meeting 2005

Stay Tuned… by Jeanne Curley

Special Guest Speaker at the April Membership Meeting

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