CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Believe it or not, the cankerworms that are annoying you now will be gone in a week. They'll have burrowed back into the ground and will remain there until fall.
In the meantime, the City of Charlotte has released data showing where the infestation of cankerworms has been the worst. We've turned that into a clickable map so you can see where city workers found the most worms in your area:
Back in January, the city collected data by going to trees that had sticky bands at the locations above, and then counting the number of wingless female moths that were stuck in them. Those moths are what climb high into the tree canopy to lay eggs. Many, according to city arborist Don McSween, can lay up to 100 eggs, meaning a tree with just a hundred female moths in it can end up with 10,000 cankerworms when those eggs hatch in the springtime.
The U.S. Forest Service defines an infested tree as having 90 wingless moths in it, but many trees in Charlotte had more than a thousand. In the worst tree, one off of Hovis Road, city workers found more than 20,000 moths in it, but stopped keeping track because there were simply too many to count.
This week, city workers are driving around, looking to see where cankerworms ate the most leaves. The hardest hit areas were on the west side and on the northwest side, north of Interstate 85. Those areas were not covered when the city used a plane to spray for cankerworms back in 2008. McSween says so far, the places where the most leaves were eaten are the places where city workers found the most worms in January.