Gypsy moths… I’m sure you’ve heard of them, or if you haven’t heard of the name, you’ve definitely seen them crawling and/or flying around your property. These insects are not only annoying but can also be quite destructive. Gypsy moths feed on more than 300 species of trees and shrubs, including Birch, Willow, Cedar, Oak, etc. These caterpillars’ defoliate trees (eat the trees leaves), which leaves the trees susceptible to other pests and diseases, which eventually kill the tree.
This could also potentially cost you a lot of money to remove trees that have died because of these Gypsy Moth infestations. It’s important to identify which caterpillar species you have on your property because there is a wide variety of them that are beneficial, some producing butterflies that are natural pollinators.
Please refer to the identification guide listed below, which is provided by Invading Species
To prevent infestations, you can search the base of your trees for their tan-coloured eggs in May and August, scrape them off and dispose of them by burning or placing them into a bucket of water/soap mixture. You can control the caterpillars by using a sprayable biological control called Btk (Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki). However, this must be applied between May and early June, or else it will not be effective. Another product that is proven to be effective at controlling the Gypsy Moth Caterpillars is the Zaper Fence. This is a low-voltage electric fence that wraps around trees and sends out a low pulse of electricity to prevent the insect from climbing up the tree. A child, pet, and bird-friendly option that will keep trees safe.
You can continue to read more about these invasive species at the link listed above. By doing your part in controlling this insect, you can help save your property and nearby forests all at the same time!