Officials concerned about impact of caterpillar outbreak

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MONTPELIER, VT. — Wildlife officials and syrup producers in Vermont are concerned that a recent population boom of a caterpillar with a sweet tooth could potentially hurt the industry's profits.

The Valley News reports the forest tent caterpillar is experiencing its first outbreak in 10 years and has been seen in Orange and Windsor counties.

The caterpillar feeds on sugar maple and white ash, damaging trees that produce syrup by feasting on its young leaves.

Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation officials say the caterpillar lays its eggs in masses of 150 to 200 in tree branches each July. Because the eggs are laid so high above ground, it's unknown how widespread the outbreak might be.

Outbreaks typically last two to six years. State officials will continue to monitor the species.

Information from: Lebanon Valley News, http://www.vnews.com


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