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Alaskan Summer Without Blueberries August 26, 2011
Bear in the blueberries
Alaskan bears will have a hard time finding blueberries this year, thanks to a moth infestation.
A plague of caterpillars has devoured most of south-central Alaska’s blueberry bushes this summer as a multi-year infestation of the geometrid moth peaked in the region around Anchorage.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service said the moths, in caterpillar form, have munched the blueberry bushes to such an extent that they cannot bear fruit this year.

They have also denuded salmonberry bushes, willows, alders and birch trees, according to the extension service.

The berry loss is a disappointment to residents and visitors to the region, where picking is a common summer ritual.

State biologists say bears might now conduct additional raids on trash cans due to the loss of their natural sweet snack.

Photo: tbarnardiii - Flickr