Southcentral Moth Outbreak Devastates Berry Crops

Berry crops in Southcentral Alaska, along with many shrubs and trees, have suffered this year from a widespread geometrid moth outbreak, causing defoliation in many plant species.

According to Michael Rasy, an integrated pest management technician for UAF Cooperative Extension Service, this type of moth is native to Alaska, but this particular behavior hasn’t been documented in the state before.

Though many plant species are currently struggling, Rasy says that many should survive.

Rasy says this outbreak began in 2009 on the southern Kenai Peninsula, and this year it has spread up as far as Hatcher Pass…and residents can expect it to affect berry crops in many areas along the way:

Rasy says that areas on the southern Kenai Peninsula should see a significant decrease in moth activity within the next year…but the northern Kenai Peninsula will likely have another year or so of heavy defoliation.

According to Rasy, the best way for people to help their plants survive is to keep them watered and growing as healthy as possible.

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Josh is the Statewide Morning News Reporter/Producer for Alaska Public Media | jedge (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | 907.550.8455 | About Josh

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