Brought to New York by way of France in 1869, the Gypsy moth has become something of a nuisance, especially every 10 to 15 years when a Gypsy moth outbreak occurs in New York State. But, it isn't just the moth that's a nuisance - apparently, its name is also a problem.

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Officially added to the dictionary in 2017, the word "woke" means to be awake to sensitive social issues and apparently, the sensitive social issue of the day is the "Gypsy Moth," or rather we should say the "Spongy Moth."

Scientists from the Entomological Society of America (ESA) have announced that the Lymantria dispar moth, commonly called the "Gypsy Moth" will now be known as the ‘Spongy Moth' because its old name could be viewed as "derogatory."

The process for changing the name of the moth started all the way back in July of 2021 when more than 50 scientists recommended the word 'spongy' be used instead of 'gypsy.' The word 'gypsy' is often considered a racist slur hurled at Romani people of Europe and the United States.

The Entomological Society of America has already begun the process of changing the name 'Gypsy Moth' over to 'Spongy Month' in all articles, journals, websites, and informational material and requests that the rest of the world do the same.

ESA President Jessica Ware, Ph.D. said, "... 'Spongy moth' gives entomologists and foresters a name for this species that...moves away from the outdated term that was previously used."

The last major outbreak of the Spongy Month in New York occurred in the summer of 2021 when an alarming number of these moths emerged, causing some pretty noticeable leaf damage all across the state, per the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Experts say that if you spot Spongy Moth caterpillars, you should destroy them. For a further look at the Spongy Month, how to detect them, and how to handle them on your property, check this out:

 

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