|Winter moth damage.|
The Maple tree in our front yard has been decimated by winter moth caterpillars. I noticed it about a week after the leaves had come out—there was all this poppy-seed-like mess on our front steps. I looked up to see if I could find out what was causing it, and that's when I noticed that the leaves were nearly all chewed. It was a moment of horror as I realized that the black speckles were caterpillar poops. After some research, my husband declared that they are winter moths. Here's and article on them, and another.
The next day was even worse. Not a single leaf remained untouched. The birds were starting to show up to snack on the wriggly, little bastards, but they can't get them all. Now I'm worried that they'll hop or drop to the next tree over. I can't stand the thought of using pesticides, but I can't bear the thought of the caterpillars consuming every tree on the block, either. Hopefully the expert will call back and offer some advice.
If you're here in Maynard, be on the lookout!