Fall cankerworms infest parts of W.Va. and Va.

SHANNONDALE, W.Va. – West Virginia agriculture officials are monitoring an infestation of fall cankerworms in Jefferson County, fearing the insects could spread.

West Virginia Agriculture Commissioner Walt Helmick says in a news release that fall cankerworms are voracious eaters that munch on tree leaves. While healthy trees usually can survive the defoliation, Helmick says excessive damage can kill them.

Disease and predators typically cause large cankerworm outbreaks to collapse. But Helmick says cankerworm populations in eastern Jefferson County have been growing for the last two seasons. He says there’s a possibility of a more widespread outbreak in West Virginia.

Helmick says large cankerworm infestations also have been reported in eastern Virginia.

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