Deforestation in Ontario has increased from 47,000 hectares in 2019 to 586,000 in 2021 There are about 500 plant species on their diet. Another couple of years of infestation combined with hot summers and pests like cankerworm, can be deadly to our forests. The worms love oak, maple, birch, alder, hawthorn, crab apple, beech, spruce and pine. Cedar, ash, azalea, holly and viburnum are less susceptible.
What to do?
It is a bit late for the scraping of eggs off tree trunks into a bucket of water with a bit of bleach or soap and leaving it sit for a few days before disposing, but this works in fall/early spring. **Wear gloves. The caterpillar hairs can cause irritation.
Burlap banding can help. Take a 3 foot wide strip of burlap that will encircle the trunk, fold it in half lengthwise, wrap around the trunk and tie with twine, (within arms’ reach) and drape top half of burlap over bottom half. When the caterpillars crawl in they are trapped and you can do the soapy water disposal…..daily. Apparently other butterfly species do not like burlap.
Home Hardware supposedly sells “Tanglefoot”. Budson’s in Erin sells supplies to help combat Gypsy Moth.
The add says: Keep destructive bugs at bay with Tree Tanglefoot® Insect Barrier. This super- sticky, non-drying compound makes it impossible for pests like cankerworms, gypsy moths and other crawling insects to climb into your trees. The long- lasting compound works all season long. For the best results, use with Tangle Guard Banding Materials for easy removal. Looking for natural products? Tree Tanglefoot® is even OMRI rated and certified for organic gardening.
- b) BTK Spraying
The deadline for signing up for Zimmer Air helicoptor spraying has passed (March). They spray at the 1/2 inch stage which is mid to end of May. They require your property roll number, area you wish sprayed, etc., and waivers from your adjacent neighbours if they do not wish to participate. Something to think about for next year.
Safer’s brand of BTK, is now available in Canadian Tire, Home Hardware and Glen Echo Nursery. The label says: biological insecticide – controls caterpillars, including cabbage worm, tomato hornworm, tent caterpillars, leafrollers and gypsy moth.
Mother Earth magazine (American) has an ad that says: BTK is 100% natural/biological control/ no synthetic toxins.
It is apparently harmless to honey bees and other beneficial insects and can be used up to a day of harvest of vegetables.
Finally, we have heard that the TRCA plans to spray some areas in Caledon, Brampton, Woodbridge, Stouffville….