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Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

Trees, mangroves trimmed after moth menace in Navi Mumbai

mumbai Updated: Oct 12, 2019 00:43 IST
Hindustantimes
         

A day after mangrove moths came swarming into Seawoods, which led to panic among motorists and residents, forest officials trimmed branches of trees in the area on Friday to stop moths from getting onto the road and eventually to nearby housing societies.

DS Kukade, a forest official, said, “We have not cut any tree or mangrove in the area; we have just trimmed the branches of a few trees and mangrove that were in the vicinity of the road.”

On Thursday, residents of Seawoods complained about rashes and redness when the moths came in contact with the human body. Even bikers were ‘attacked’ by moths and toppled off from their vehicles. Officials from Nerul fire station then used water to disperse the moths and push them back to the mangrove.

Entomologist Subhalaxami Vaylure, however, said, “[Moths] falling in large numbers is a defence mechanism, as their habitat has been disturbed. Trimming the branches will lead to more vibration and hence, further disturbance, leading to more moths coming.”

Vaylure advised only branches close to the road be trimmed and officials should not penetrate deep inside the mangrove. “Also, it is a temporary phase, which might last one or two more days,” said Vaylure. The entomologist said the moths do not lead to any health hazard. “They are not hairy caterpillar that they would lead to itching,” added Vaylure.

These moths have a short life cycle of two to three months which is directly linked with the monsoon. “Climate change has led to moths raining on us as the extended monsoon has lead to a disturbance in their cycle,” said Suresh M, an environmentalist.

Explaining the phenomenon, Vaylure said, “There is a patch of mangrove near Seawoods bridge. The moths had exhausted the food at that patch and travelled in search of food. As there was no mangrove area nearby, they descended on to the road and housing society. They will die because of starvation”

First Published: Oct 12, 2019 00:43 IST

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