Over the 140 years of articles, there’s a shift. It begins with worry, a fear that the outbreaks to the south would soon spread north to Vermont. There’s a lot of uncertainty, missing details, and even a bit of misinformation in these early reports as naturalists were only just beginning to understand the problem and ecology of the insect.
The articles then appear to be exploratory, describing studies being conducted on potential controls for the moths or describing natural predators/controls. There’s a matter-of-fact, economical way of describing the moths and their impact – both ecological and financial. This gives way to a pop-culture disdain for the moths. The 1981 satirical article is an interview with Roderick Crawford, an obsessed caterpillar killer. There’s this exchange with a member of the audience and Roderick:
“Mr. Crawford, when your wife saw you killing caterpillars, why didn’t she leave you?”
“She threatened to several times, but I think she was afraid to. I was in such a state that I told her if she left I would do to her what I was doing to the caterpillars.”