BITELY, Mich. — Rebecca Guizar's house is crawling with caterpillars.
But not the kind that turn into beautiful butterflies.
“We are being infested by gypsy moths,” Guizar said.
The bugs are everywhere: on her roof, on her husband's tractor tires, and on almost every tree on her property.
Her Honeycrisp apple tree was finally supposed to produce fruit this year. That's a bust now too.
"You feel them crawling on you, even when they're not on you," Guizar said.
It's the type of thing that makes her want to move out of her home, where she's lived since 2013. In her small, unincorporated community of Bitely in Newaygo County, the gypsy mouths have easily outnumbered people, and then some.
“I’ve never seen them before, in my life, this bad. I’ve seen them. But not like this,” Guziar said.
Newaygo County officials are aware of the problem. They say the infestation got out of hand so quickly, there's not much they can do. They're sad for the same reasons Rebecca is: this means no leaves on the trees, and gross bugs everywhere.
Rebecca's tried to get rid of them, with no luck.
“I put a bunch of Dawn with water in a squirt bottle, and just sprayed them and hoped they would die,” Guizar said.
But these pests prove to be resilient. Anyone experiencing a problem can contact the MSU Extension Office with questions.
Researchers with the Michigan State University Department of Entomology have created an app to help you track invasive species like gypsy moths.
The MISIN smartphone app provides a way for you to track data throughout the Midwest.
You can play an important role in the early detection and rapid response to new invasive threats in your area by contributing invasive species observations to the database.