KENTUCKY (WEHT) – When you’re out and about this summer, perhaps you’ll come across a very odd orange box seemingly stuck on the side of a tree. You might wonder what you’re looking at.
According to Land Between the Lakes (LBL), those boxes are actually used to study isolated populations of spongy moths, formerly known as gypsy moths. According to an official from LBL, the state of Kentucky has its own trapping/monitoring program and puts the traps out across LBL as well as on private land. An official from the University of Kentucky says these orange triangular traps, known as delta traps, have a pheromone lure that is for attracting the male spongy moth. It should be noted that the females cannot fly, but the males can.
According to a page on LBL’s website, spongy moths are seen as an invasive species, although they have yet to establish themselves in Kentucky. Oak trees usually get the brunt of the caterpillar’s damage, as spongy moth larvae have a tendency to eat up the leaves of whatever plant they decide to feast on. This makes way for other problems for the plant in question, with root rot being one example. Eventually, with prolonged damage from spongy moth caterpillars, trees and other plants victimized by these moths will likely die.
An official from the University of Kentucky tells Eyewitness News that people should leave the traps alone, as the traps have GPS and are placed in accordance with a grid system that helps officials come back and collect them at the end of the survey season, which is around the end of July.