Officials with Pinery Provincial Park are dealing with some uninvited guests as an “abnormally large” number of gypsy moths (Lymantria dispar dispar) have appeared in the area, according to a tweet posted yesterday to the park’s Twitter page.
Resource management group leader Tanya Berkers said the insect’s increased presence in the park poses no risk to campers.
“The caterpillars are covered in hair, and if you handle the caterpillar too much, especially if you have very sensitive skin, you could have a reaction to that,” Berkers said.
“They are not considered a human health hazard at all.”
Berkers added that a seasonal increase in gypsy moths is not out of the ordinary, with the insects having been in the region for some time now.
“It’s very cyclical… you hardly notice the caterpillars in most years, and then in some years, they’re extremely prevalent,” she explained.
Berkers advises campers to bring a tarp or dining shelter in order to prevent gypsy moths from falling onto food, drinks or other camping materials. It is also important to brush off any gypsy moths that may have latched onto vehicles, she says.
Berkers also advises against biodegradable tents, which may be appetizing for the insects.
“The best thing to do is to just ignore it as best you can,” she added.