This oak is on the south edge of Carlson’s Quarry in the middle of ground zero of last year’s gypsy moth infestation in Rockport. The leaves were ompletely munched, they leafed out again in August.
Today they look very happy. The overwinter gypsy moth egg masses are about one tenth in number or less of last year. And the ones that were still viable look like this photo. 10-15 tiny holes where the new catapillars crawled out instead of 50-200 holes.
So the rain, hard freeze cycle we had this winter was tough on them and the wet spring is supposedly great for the fungus e. maimaiga. That fungus will be active once these caterpillars get to be full sized and it eats them from the inside out releasing spores from the cadaver.
If you see stiff caterpillar cadavers hanging vertical, leave them be. They will release spores and kill more. If you see the caterpillar stiff and hanging send in a photo and you win a GMG bumper sticker. Start looking mid June. I saw some of the little bastards in Lobster Cove, Annisquam yesterday and the fungus has to wait until they are fat and worth eating.