When I moved to Central New York from Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota in 1987, gypsy moths (laying eggs on the trunk of a tree near Lake Ontario in the early 1990's, at right) were a huge issue. Many people were convinced that the insect was going to kill entire forests throughout the northeastern U.S.
Now, the better part of twenty years latter, you barely hear about them!
Rather, the most recent concern are forest tent caterpillars, at left, that have been stripping the foliage from trees covering tens of thousands of acres of forested hillsides across the North Country and Central New York during the past several summers. In some locales, the caterpillars have been so thick that they quite literally cover the walls of buildings and stretches of highway!
Fortunately, I can almost guarantee that ten years from now, this latest forest tent caterpillar outbreak (there have been seven recorded in New York State since the late 1800's) will be all but forgotten.
The point is that while there are many insects that cause damage to plants and/or their fruit, with a good understanding of their lifecycle, very few need to be of great concern (and the target of unnecessary applications of insecticides).
Click on the links at right, to see what I mean.