The threat to our trees posed by the European gypsy moths caterpillars is more evident this year than ever before. These voracious pests, an invasive species, are causing destruction to trees throughout Caledon and beyond.
Some tricks to slow the spread include spraying with BTK, a biological insecticide. After ingesting a leaf treated with BTK caterpillars stop feeding within hours and die within a few days. This is most effective while the caterpillars are young. Physical deterrents, such as wrapping your trees in duct tape and burlap, help to deter and trap these pests. Sticky substances such as Crisco and Vaseline can also provide an effective barrier that they are hesitant to cross.
For their pupal stage scrape them into water containing bleach or soap to ensure their destruction. Once they become gypsy moths, pheromone traps can be hung in trees to attract and capture the male moths. The flightless females can be killed wherever they are found. The females lay their egg masses mostly on tree trunks and branches but may be found in any sheltered location. Scrape these also in water containing bleach or soap or alternatively burn or bury them. Egg masses scraped onto he ground may still hatch the following spring.
We wish everyone the best of luck getting rid of these relentless pests!