Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Hello gypsy moth caterpillars, now please go die

Following their own mysterious ways, gypsy moths are back in RI.

My poplars and apple trees seem particularly tasty to them; to date I've probably killed several hundred.   I tried dusting the trunks with diatomaceous earth, but that didn't seem to help.  The most effective way to get rid of them was sadly manual and well, brutal.   With my trusty Buck 55, go out just around dusk where they all congregate on the bottom of tree branches or the shady side of tree trunks, and behead them all, one at a time.   It's gross, the bigger instars tend to 'pop'.

Today (too late, long story) I put on some Tanglefoot around 1 poplar as a test.   I fear most of the caterpillars are pupating now, but I should catch some of the big ones.  It's a messy, stick task, and on poplar trees it especially sucks due to their rough bark; I had to stuff cotton balls under the saran wrap so that the critters couldn't simply crawl under it.

Here's a picture of what it looks like:

Here's the rest of my non-chemical arsenal:
diatomaceous earth - crawlies
copper foil - slugs
neem oil & sprayer - winged leaf-eaters

Apparently I'm not the only one fighting caterpillars this year, according to the Northern RI Conservation District team, it's everywhere.   Here's another link:

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