Last week, many residents of Providence's Summit Neighborhood (Hope Street area) received a lengthy letter from a neighbor, concerned about an epidemic that is "wreaking havoc" on the idyllic east side community.
Was the author concerned with the rash of home invasions?
Was it the proposal to install parking meters in the Hope Street business district, threatening the viability of several small shops and restaurants that's got her goat?
Not even close.
So, what was she so fired up about that she wrote this long and eloquent letter (pictured below), paid postage, and distributed to hundreds of her neighbors?
Yes, those little green worms.
I'm not quite sure of her motive (she describes herself as a realtor -- guerrilla marketing perhaps?), but regardless, many residents were befuddled that a neighbor would go to such great and dramatic lengths to rally community support.
Read the ridiculous letter below!
Letter transcribed below photo
Dear Summit Neighborhood Friends and Neighbors,
As I sit with my 11 month old daughter out in my backyard on Third Street, I can see leaves from my beautiful old oak trees, riddled with holes, all over the ground. I look at my lilac bushes, and they look like Swiss cheese. I glance nervously at my window boxes, which cost me a pretty penny each year to fill with colorful annuals, and wonder how long they will last this season. I know I'm not alone in these thoughts of worry for our neighborhood trees and gardens, and I'd like to ask you to do something about our winter moth problem.
As you might already know, the winter moth is an invasive insect that is wreaking havoc on our local trees and plants. These caterpillars are the pale green buggers with creamy-yellow longitudinal stripes running down both sides of their bodies. In their small stages, the "inch worms" are only about 1/4" long and at their late stage can be 3/4" long and quite large around. In November, these caterpillars emerge as winter moths, which are white/light brown moths that plague our screen doors at night for a week or two.
Unfortunately, the actions of just a few of us won't stop this invasive insect from spreading. The caterpillars will drop from trees and swing from threads, easily moving over our fences and property lines. This is why I'd like us to come together as a neighborhood to save our trees and gardens.
So, what can we do? There are a number of products out there that will treat this problem, and you can talk to your local arborist or someone at your local nursery for recommendations. During my research, I've found that using products containing spinosad bacterium can be relatively safe for our children and pets as well as pretty effective. Carbaryl based products may also work, but I have been cautioned that these can have a very negative effect on our bee population, which we want to make sure to prevent. For a 100% safe solution, you can try making a spray bottle mixture of garlic and water. Regardless of your preferred method, it is optimal to apply solution to affected leaves at night so that it can soak into the plants with the morning dew and also have the least possible chance of being encountered by our bees. It is not recommended to treat budding flowers or plants, again so our bees do not come in contact with any insecticides.
This is a battle that can't be won by one or two people on each block alone. To truly make an impact, we will need to come together. I know in our tight knit community, we can make this happen. I've enclosed my business card in case you want to get in touch. As your neighborhood realtor, I care about our trees, gardens, and home values deeply. Will you join me in taking action?
All my best,
Your neighbor on Third Street
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