June 2, 2017

Battling Gypsy Moth Caterpillars

Toni Leland

Last year, 2016, was the worst year ever for the Gypsy Moth and her horrible babies. These critters consumed everything in sight, but especially Japanese Maples.
The beautiful laceleaf in the back yard and the gorgeous Brandywine in the front were merely a shadow of their former selves by July.

So this year, when the notice came through from UConn Extension, I did my research. Online, I found a product that promised to stop these critters in their tracks. The product is nothing more than a wide sticky tape with a slippery side that the caterpillars reportedly could not cross.

Off went my order and when it came, I marched straight out to the two maples and applied the tape as directed.
In the morning, the tape was on the ground. The tape would not stick to the damp trunk.
By this time, I was seeing teensy tiny newly hatched caterpillars and panic kicked in.

Plan B.
I turned the tape over, sticky side out and wrapped it tightly around the trunk, as directed, sticking it to itself.
The next morning, dozens of tiny caterpillars were stuck. Voila!

Problem:
After a couple of rainy weeks, I discovered that the sticky stuff was gone and the caterpillars were making their way into the tree canopies.

More tape. And here's proof it works!

video
While we can't keep these critters out of the forests and heavily wooded areas, or very tall large trees, this tape will help protect your landscape ornamental trees.

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