- How to Get Rid of Apple Tree Worms
- How to Get Rid of Spring Webworms or Eastern Tent Caterpillars
- Your Guide to Getting Rid of Spring Webworms in Trees
- apple worms – Knowledgebase Question
- What can I spray for worms in my peaches and plums?
- Safety Assurance
- When to Spray Apple Trees for Worms
- Coddling Moth
- Spraying Insecticides
- Insecticidal Soap
- What are Those Little Green Worms Hanging from Oaks Trees?
- Tiny green worms emerging on trees – and plopping into people’s hair | Charlotte Observer
- Cankerworms Feed On a Wide Range of Trees
- There’s a Reason They’re Also Called Inchworms
- IDENTIFY AND TREAT WINTER MOTH
- LIFECYCLE OF THE WINTER MOTH PEST
- PREVENTING AND TREATING WINTER MOTH
How to Get Rid of Apple Tree Worms
Apple tree worms, also known as codling moth larvae or apple maggots, can damage the fruit and tunnel deep inside the fruit. You can get rid of apple worms by knowing how to detect them and which steps of action to take. Apple tree worms lay eggs in the skin of the apple and feed on the fruit. You can find black or whitish-looking worms inside. Codling moths may also look like worms in the larva stage and tunnel through the apple as they are eating the fruit.
Hang sticky traps. Sticky traps designed to catch apple maggots are spherical in shape and hang in the branches of your apple tree. Hang two to four traps per tree, depending on the size of the tree, at the first sight of black or white maggots in the fruit itself. The sticky traps will catch the adult maggots, which fly, preventing them from laying eggs in the apple tree. You can purchase sticky traps online (see Resources) or at your local gardening specialty store.
Remove all fallen fruit from the tree immediately and discard them. Fallen fruit will hold worms, which will become flying insects that can lay more eggs in the trees. Until you break the cycle, your trees will continue to be infested.
Spray dormant oil on your trees during just before spring to prevent any eggs from hatching. Cover any nearby plants with a tarp before spraying, as the oil can damage sensitive flowers and shrubs. Spray the tree entirely before buds begin swelling for best results. Spray your trees on a day that stays above 50 degrees Fahrenheit for the entire day. You can purchase dormant oil at your local gardening specialty store or online (see Resources).
Hang pheromone sticky traps to catch flying codling moths. Codling moths take the appearance of tunneling larvae after they hatch. When they grow into adulthood, codling moths resemble small moths that are black or brown in color. The moths are attracted to the scent of the pheromone traps, and once they are caught, they cannot lay eggs on the apples. Place four pheromone traps on each adult apple tree.
Plant butterfly weed several feet from your apple trees. Butterfly weed is a plant that hosts parasites that kill codling moths. It is not harmful for these parasites to get into your apples, so bringing them into your natural environment can help kill codling moths naturally, preventing them from laying eggs. Purchase small butterfly weed plants, dig a six-inch hole in the ground and place the plant inside. Pack the surrounding area with dirt, and continue planting the next butterfly weed plant one to two feet away.
How to Get Rid of Spring Webworms or Eastern Tent Caterpillars
In spring, tree leaves aren’t the only thing breaking out of their shells. After spending the winter in a hideaway, pesky insects also come alive in spring.
That’s the case for tent caterpillars, whose thick, woven webs dim the glow of a tree’s bloom.
Luckily, tent caterpillars are pretty easy to bat off, whether you opt for an insecticide or handy home remedy.
Your Guide to Getting Rid of Spring Webworms in Trees
What are tent worms?
Tent worms, or Eastern tent caterpillars, are furry critters that eat tree leaves and weave large, silky webs around tree branches. You’ll spot them in spring, usually on black cherry, apple or crabapple trees. Sometimes, they’ll go after other fruit trees, too.
Are tent caterpillars harmful to trees?
Tent caterpillars aren’t usually a significant threat to healthy, mature trees. They do strip away some of the trees’ leaves and weave unpleasant looking webs, but that’s the worst of their damage.
But, there are two exceptions: black cherry trees and young trees are extremely vulnerable to tent caterpillars. If you spot caterpillars or their spider-like webs, treat these trees right away.
How to Get Rid of Tree Worms
Getting rid of tent caterpillars is simple. Follow the steps below to say farewell to these buggers!
- Remove the webs by hand, then kill the tent worms with dish soap. If you only have a couple of tents, pull the webs off the branches. Shoot for early morning or evening when the caterpillars are inside their webs. If you don’t want to touch them, wrap the webs around a broomstick. Then, pop them into a bucket filled with water and dish soap.
- Get serious. For large infestations that aren’t practical to take down by hand, an insecticide with Bacillus thuringiensis or “Bt” is very effective. Follow the package instructions carefully. Or phone your local arborist and have them handle this.
- Get rid of caterpillar eggs in winter. In winter, check to see if the caterpillars laid eggs, which will look like shiny, reddish-brown bulbs on tree branches. You can try to scrape them off, and if that doesn’t work, prune off the branches.
apple worms – Knowledgebase Question
The fruits of apple trees can be ruined by two different types of worms: Coddling Moth larvae and Apple Maggot. Coddling moth larvae are usually found in the core area of the apple. The adult lays eggs inside apple blossoms. When the fruit forms, the egg hatches into a worm-like larvae. Apple Maggot is the immature form of an adult fly. The fly lays eggs just under the skin of the developing apple. When the eggs hatch, the larvae tunnel throughout the flesh of the apple, leaving rust-colored frass (bug poop). When it’s time to leave the apple, the larvae digs an exit hole, spins a web, and pupates in the soil below the tree, where it emerges as an adult some months later. Control of both these pests is difficult. There are some pheromone traps (sex attractant) available through mail order companies that you can hang in your trees. Many gardeners have success in trapping Apple Maggots by using red rubber balls, or painting styrofoam balls red, coating either with sticky ‘Tanglefoot’, and hanging them in the tree. The flies are attracted to the red spheres and try to lay their eggs. They’ll be hopelessly stuck if they land. Be sure to pick up and bury any infested or fallen fruit from the tree to prevent a population explosion of either pest. For CODLING MOTH (the worm in the apple): Start preventive spraying of the fruit 7- 21 days after full bloom. Keep the trees protected through August. A third generation can occur from late August to mid-September, so additional protection may be needed through this time. Use Spinosad (Bull?s-eye Bioinsecticide); Monterey Garden Insect Spray; or Kaolin (Surround at Home Crop Protectant from Gardens Alive Inc.) Follow label directions on all products. SPRAY TIMING IS CRITICAL. Follow the spray schedule given on the label. Reapply the spray after a brief, heavy rainfall or showers of longer duration and then resume your regular schedule. If the apple is not protected, the egg laid by the codling moth will hatch and the small worm will enter the apple and be protected from the sprays. If your apples become infested with worms, remove the apples from the tree and seal them in large, black garbage bags. Leave these bags in the sun for two weeks to kill the worms. The traditional approach to protecting apples from apple maggot has been spraying backyard trees with organophosphate insecticides. Since apple maggot spends most of its life cycle protected within the fruit or buried in the soil, the insecticides must be timed to coincide with adult fly activity. Apple maggot flies are active from late June to October. Apply the first insecticide spray within 7 days of trapping the first adult on yellow sticky cards. Repeat applications every 7 to 14 days until preharvest, or more frequently if it rains. It is not necessary to reap-ply an insecticide if no more apple maggot flies are captured on traps after 3 to 4 weeks. Observe the preharvest interval (time interval between last spray application and fruit harvest) on the insecticide label. This interval will prevent unacceptable pesticide residues on your harvested fruit. Best wishes with your apples!
What can I spray for worms in my peaches and plums?
Q: What can I spray to get rid of worms in peaches and wild plums? Last summer the trees were full of fruit, but it was inedible. I understand that a mixture with molasses might work, but I do not know the formula. — P.W., Houston
A: If the pest is plum curculio, you’ll see whitish to yellow-white, legless grubs with brown heads in the fruit. This small weevil eats a hole in developing fruit and deposits eggs inside. Once the worms hatch, they feed, and often the fruit ripens and drops early.
Another possible pest is the Oriental fruit moth. The larvae are pinkish, 1/2 -inch worms with legs. Symptoms include damaged growing tips.
Treatment timing for either pest is most important. You don’t want to spray and kill insects that pollinate the blooms. So it’s generally recommended applications be made when the petals fall.
Some build scaffolds over trees, then cover the structures with row cover right after blossoms fall.
To discourage future outbreaks, remove infested fruit. Plant varieties that produce before the pest emerges. ‘Tropic Beauty,’ for example, is a 150-chill-hour peach that produces before the curculio is active.
Ask your nurseryman or your extension office for an appropriate insecticide. The molasses treatment you mention could be one mixed with Garrett Juice and garlic tea. You can buy Garrett Juice or follow the recipe below.
Mix the following in a gallon of water:
1 cup manure-based compost tea
1 ounce molasses
1 ounce natural apple cider vinegar
1 ounce liquid seaweed
For disease and insect control add:
1/4 cup garlic tea or
1/4 cup garlic/pepper tea
or 1 ounce of orange oil
To make garlic tea:
Liquefy 3 bulbs of garlic in a blender 1/2 to 2/3 full of water. Strain the solids and add enough water to the garlic juice to make 1 gallon of concentrate. Use 1/4 cup of concentrate per gallon of spray. Add two tablespoons of blackstrap molasses for more control.
Your GA peach farmers work tirelessly to bring you the safest peaches available. Not only do we comply with all food safety regulations, but we exceed these standards….after all, we live on our farms and feed our children the fruits from our orchards. Ga peaches are always fresh, safe and delicious.
As always, wash your fruit before eating but don’t be scared of the skin! That’s where many of the nutrients are! Fruit is typically handled several times before it reaches your kitchen. It is always best practice to wash your produce before consumption.
Just like you, bugs, worms and fungi love to feast on sweet Ga peaches. There are many natural methods that we employ to combat these infestations. Below are a few of the things that your Ga peach growers are doing to insure the safest, most delicious peaches in the world are delivered to your table:
- Our farmers spend time every day in each orchard scouting for emerging threats of pests and fungus. Early detection is the best defense against these predators as it allows us to target specific trees instead of randomly applying spray materials.
- We constantly perform leaf and soil analysis to insure we’re giving our trees the perfect nourishment to produce sweet Ga peaches.
- Our farmers plant cover crops between each row of peach trees which host beneficial insects that prey on our fruit. These cover crops also prevent runoff and provide erosion control.
- Your Ga peach growers have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in the development of new pest-resistant and disease-resistant peach varieties. These new varieties allow us to minimize the application of spray materials.
- Other than the peach you eat, all of the organic by-products the tree produces (small peaches, leaves, pruned limbs, etc.) are composted and returned to the orchard to replenish the soil.
- Every Ga peach that you eat has been hand-picked, thoroughly washed and brushed, and hand-packed.
Provided from www.safefruitsandveggies.com
Putting Residues in Perspective
The nation’s leading toxicologists agree— the mere “presence” of pesticide residue does not mean that the food is harmful in any way.
Farmers who grow fruits and vegetables and feed them to their own families want to be sure their products are safe. To demonstrate just how safe it is to eat any fruit or vegetable, even if a pesticide residue is present, we reached out to Dr. Robert Krieger, head of the University of California, Riverside Personal Chemical Exposure Program. Dr. Krieger has provided us with information on how much of 14 produce items a man, woman or child could eat and still not consume enough pesticide residues to reach a level where an adverse effect could be observed. For purposes of creating a “worst case scenario”, Dr. Krieger calculated the numbers using the highest pesticide residue found on 14 popular produce items tested through the USDA’s Pesticide Data program.
Use the calculation tool below to see how many servings a man, woman, teen or child could consume and still not have any adverse effects from pesticide residues.
for Apple Maggots
A destructive pest of commercial and backyard orchards across North America, apple maggots (Rhagoletis pomonella) will also attack plum, apricot, pear, cherry and hawthorn. Contaminated fruits often show small pinpricks or pitted areas on the apple surface with brown or rotten trails running throughout the flesh. If trees are neglected, 100% of the crop can be wormy rendering the fruit unfit to eat and suitable only for livestock feed.
Slightly smaller than a housefly, adult apple maggots are 1/5 inch long and have conspicuous black bands — resembling a W — running across their transparent wings. The larvae (1/4 inch long) are white, tapered maggots that tunnel throughout the flesh of fruit. Sometimes called railroad worms, they may be found in large numbers and will quickly reduce a beautiful apple to a brown, pulpy mess.
Apple maggots overwinter as pupae in the soil. Adult flies emerge in late spring and begin to lay eggs just under the apple skin. The eggs hatch, and the larvae begin to tunnel through the fruit. When mature, the maggot leaves through a small opening made in the side of the fruit and enters the soil. One or two generations per year.
How to Control
- Most maggots leave the fruit several days after it has fallen from the tree. As a result, a certain level of control can be achieved by picking up and discarding the dropped apples.
- Red Sphere Traps will greatly reduce damage and work well to capture and reduce the number of egg laying adults. Traps should be placed within the canopy just as trees are finished blooming. Hang spheres high in the brightest areas of the tree, 6-7 feet from the ground. Set out one trap for every 150 apples (2 traps per dwarf tree).
- Beneficial nematodes are microscopic, worm-like parasites that actively hunt, penetrate and destroy the pupal stage of this pest. For best results, apply in the early spring or fall around the base of trees, out to the drip line. One application will continue working for 18 months.
- Surround WP — made from kaolin clay — will suppress a broad range of insects and has shown over 90% control of apple pests. It also has a positive effect on fungal diseases like fire blight, sooty blotch and flyspeck.
- Fast-acting botanical insecticides should be used as a last resort. Derived from plants which have insecticidal properties, these natural pesticides have fewer harmful side effects than synthetic chemicals and break down more quickly in the environment.
When to Spray Apple Trees for Worms
Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of tanakawho
Apple trees can easily become infested with a variety of insect pests, particularly the coddling moth. Left unchecked, they can decimate the harvest from an orchard or even a single tree in short order, perhaps as quickly as one summer. Following a schedule of spraying and employing other gardening techniques can minimize the damage.
The coddling moth itself does no damage to the tree. It overwinters in the tree and as temperatures warm up, they awake, mate and lays eggs in the bark and on the branches of the apple tree. The eggs hatch in two to four weeks. The larvae or “apple maggots” or “apple worms” seek out the fruit and burrow in, passing through several stages of development before emerging as moths and starting the process over again. A female coddling moth can lay between 50 and 100 eggs in her month of life. The cycle repeats two to three times a season, more often in warmer climates where the growing season is longer.
The ideal time to treat the infestation is before the moths have had a chance to lay eggs. Spray horticultural petroleum oil over the surface of the tree when daytime temperatures reach 45 to 55 Fahrenheit when there is no frost danger predicted for the night. Apply Esfenvalerate, Spinosad, Permethrin or Kaolin clay 17 to 21 days after full bloom of flowers or 10 days after all the petals have fallen off. These treatments remain active for one to two weeks. Additional treatments will be required every one to two weeks throughout the summer to disrupt the mating the mating cycle.
Insecticidal soaps, considered a safer, greener pesticide, can be applied as an alternative at the same time. They are effective in killing females and any larvae the soaps come in contact with but lose their effectiveness as soon as they dries. This method would require many applications to ensure full coverage throughout the growing season.
The use of “mock apples” can alert you as to when adult coddling moths have emerged so that you can begin your treatments. They can also act as lures, attracting females away from real apples. Commercially prepared apples can be made of plastic and contain a pheromone that attracts the female. The apples are coated with a sticky substance that traps the adult moth, making her unable to lay eggs in the tree. Homemade apples can be made of a Styrofoam ball painted red to simulate an apple. Coat it with a sticky substance and hang a couple, homemade or commercial in each tree.
Another important step in protecting your apple tree from infestation is maintenance. Clean up apples as they fall. Apples on the ground are just as inviting to the moths and their larvae as those on the tree. Removing them reduces the number of paces for larvae to feed and grow. A summer and fall clean up fallen apples is recommended. Also, remove any apples from the tree that show “stings,” the shallow entry points on the apple where the larvae have eaten their way into the fruit. This greatly reduces the number of larvae that can reach adulthood and repeat the cycle.
What are Those Little Green Worms Hanging from Oaks Trees?
Article by Rick Orr
APL Lawn Spraying Inc.
Rick Orr is the creator of Iloveturf.com, an Agronomist and the Owner/Operator of APL Lawn Spraying. Rick is a graduate from VA Tech in Agronomy (Turf Ecology). He has been a Golf Course Superintendent, Certified Arborist, Landscape Contractor, Irrigation Contractor and Adjunct Professor for Environmental Horticulture.
Rick is an expert at growing St Augustine turf. Since 1995, Rick has spent his time researching, developing and testing the best management practices for St Augustine turf grown in Pinellas County.
The results of that work is a one of the top rated lawn spray companies in Pinellas County – APL Lawn Spraying. APL Lawn Spraying is a family owned business serving residential and commercial properties in Pinellas County, FL.
APL Lawn Spraying provides lawn spraying to commercial properties, HOA’s and single family homes. To request a free quote for your property, click here: Free Advice or Price Quote
Speaking Engagments – Does it seem like you are only hearing one side of water restrictions, fertilizer bans, plant restrictions and many other urban landscape hot topics? Rick Orr is available for speaking engagements for your HOA, Community or Professional Association or Garden Club about a variety of subjects. Call or email for more information.
Visit the Author’s Website
Tiny green worms emerging on trees – and plopping into people’s hair | Charlotte Observer
Cankerworms are slinking once again on Charlotte’s trees, feasting on leaves and plopping into the hair of unsuspecting walkers and joggers.
Some Dilworth residents reported plucking the little green caterpillars off their heads and clothes this week in what has become perhaps the grossest harbinger of spring in some Charlotte neighborhoods.
Cankerworms typically emerge this time of the year from eggs laid by wingless moths in December.
Their population has grown for 30 years in the Queen City, although city arborist Tim Porter said his staff has observed a smaller impact this year.
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“I believe the unusual weather Charlotte experienced this past winter probably contributed to the smaller impact, but not certain as to exactly how the weather affected this,” Porter told the Observer in an email on Wednesday.
Cankerworm numbers, per the city’s monitoring program, are still high or have increased in some areas, Porter said. “Numbers were highest in the west and northeast areas of Charlotte,” he said. “Numbers generally were lower in areas where the city has conducted past aerial sprays targeting cankerworms.”
Charlotte conducted aerial sprays in 1992, 1998 and 2008, but Porter has said that banding your trees in the fall can greatly reduce the nuisance and environmental impact of the worms when they emerge each spring.
Charlotte started a banding program on street trees in 1990, while asking homeowners and businesses to help by banding their trees, too.
Banding in late November produces the best results, the city says, but homeowners should wait until most leaves have fallen so they don’t get stuck to the tree bands. The city offers tree banding grants to neighborhood and community groups.
Homeowners place a band of paper-like material around their trees and add a coat of sticky material to prevent the moths from crawling up the trees to lay their eggs.
Cankerworms don’t in most cases kill trees, but repeated defoliation makes them more vulnerable to age, drought, other insects and disease.
The worms infest trees from Georgia to Nova Scotia and west to Texas, and Charlotte has seen severe infestations over the decades.
Their growing population has long stumped entomologists, but Charlotte’s large number of old willow oaks could be partly to blame, city officials said.
Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak
What Are Those Worms Dropping From the Trees?
By Chris Williams on May 4, 2015.
I can’t get my kids to play in the backyard because of little green worms that are dropping out of the trees and landing on them and on everything else.
Now I’m remembering that these worms and their silk threads were all over decks and sidewalks last spring, too. What are they? R.N., Hampton, NH
You are probably talking about spring cankerworms, although they could be fall cankerworms. Pretty confusing. Both of these caterpillars are the immature form of moths and, despite the names, they both make their appearance in spring (mid-May in Massachusetts and New Hampshire). The names, spring and fall cankerworm, refer to the season in which the adult moths are present. The larvae are less than an inch long and range from light green to brown.
Cankerworms Feed On a Wide Range of Trees
The larvae of cankerworms hatch from eggs in spring and feed on the newly emerging, young leaves of many different types of hardwood trees, including beech, ash, oak, elm, hickory, apple, cherry, maple, and linden. Their feeding results initially in a tattered appearance to the leaves. Although cankerworms make their appearance every spring, they rarely cause significant damage to the trees that they feed on, and most of the time we don’t even notice them. Some years, however, there is a severe, noticeable outbreak resulting in lots of browned-out trees. A heavy infestation of cankerworms can completely defoliate a tree, and will sometimes kill a tree that is already stressed from drought.
The caterpillars produce silk threads that they use to float from tree to tree, or to drop to the ground. We’re not aware of all the cankerworm larvae busily feeding high up in the trees, but when they are hanging in front of our faces or climbing up our arm, we take notice. They can be especially annoying in mid to late June when they are all dropping to the ground to pupate. Large populations in trees can also produce an annoying rain of cankerworm poop on those below!
There’s a Reason They’re Also Called Inchworms
Cankerworms are also called inchworms, spanworms, measuring worms, or loopers. Like other caterpillars, they have fleshy prolegs at the rear of their bodies. Unlike other caterpillars, spring cankerworms have only two pairs of prolegs which accounts for their strange gait. Since a large section of their bodies are legless, when they move, the rear prolegs have to move forward on their own to catch up with the front legs, resulting in a humped-up, rather amusing form of locomotion.
The adult male cankerworm moths are rather drab looking. The females of both spring and fall cankerworm moths don’t look like moths at all since they are wingless and fuzzy. They climb tree trunks to mate and deposit their eggs. In heavy infestations, sticky bands can be placed around the trunks to intercept the female moths.
Fortunately, we don’t have to put up with cankerworm larvae for very long. They feed for 3 to 4 weeks in spring and then drop to the ground to pupate by late June. Control of the larvae is difficult since entire trees must be treated and timing is important. In most cases and in most years, control is not warranted.
Photo credit: Cyron / Source / CC BY
IDENTIFY AND TREAT WINTER MOTH
LIFECYCLE OF THE WINTER MOTH PEST
Male and female winter moths emerge from the soil in their adult form (as moths) from early November and through to mid January in warmer winters. The female pests cannot fly and immediately make their way to the nearest tree trunk of suitable tree varieties. It is thought that the females recognise tree trunks because of their profile in low light. They then crawl up the tree trunk into branches. Along the way they mate with male winter moths which can fly very well.
Eggs are laid in the crevices of the bark on the trunk and branches. The eggs are light green at first and laid in clusters of 30 or so. The adult moths have then completed their useful life so die. As the larvae grow in the egg case they turn orange at first and finally very dark brown / blue just before hatching.
One of the key factors which determines when the eggs will hatch is temperature – a week or so with temperatures around 13°C / 56°F is just right for them. Unfortunately this almost always coincides with the period when affected trees and shrubs in your garden are beginning to produce flower and leaf buds. The tiny caterpillars then search out the forming buds and “worm” their way into the outer scales and begin eating their way inwards.
To increase their chances of finding tasty buds and also to enable them to spread to nearby trees some of the caterpillars will spin a thin thread and hang downwards from the thread. Some will latch onto buds lower down the tree but others will be blown away in strong winds and hopefully land on another tree and then attack that.
Winter Moth Caterpillar hanging by a thread
The above picture (courtesy of one of our readers, Tony R) shows this stage of their life cycle.
The caterpillar will eat the interior of a bud, destroying it completely. They then move onto other buds and developing leaves. Many of the leaves will end up with holes in them.
The above picture shows a fully developed Winter Moth caterpillar and is very typical of how they look as they move with an arched back to almost push themselves along. At their longest they are about 2.5cm / 1in long. In early to mid June they drop to the ground and pupate, emerging as adult moths in November.
PREVENTING AND TREATING WINTER MOTH
Well established and healthy trees are very often quite capable of growing through the damage caused by winter moths, producing a reasonable amount of apple / pear / plum or cherry fruits. Just because the moths have attacked the tree one year does not mean they will be attacked the next year. So in many cases it is possible just to ignore the damage.
For some trees however, especially younger trees and those not in the best of health, the damage can be severe, even fatal.
There are two stages in the life cycle of Winter moths when they are vulnerable. The first occurs when they emerge in November and the females attempt to climb up the tree. Almost all garden centres and also online suppliers sell grease bands which can be wrapped around the lower part of the tree trunk in early to mid October. These are very sticky and the females get suck on them and die. Probably the best form of this barrier is a glue one which is painted on the trunk in place of the bands. Both must be kept sticky from late October through to late March.
One word of advice if your trees are staked. To the eyes of a moth, a tree trunk and a tree stake look much the same and they will crawl up both often crossing from one to the other. Grease bands and / or glue therefore need to be applied to the tree stakes as well as the trunks for best control.
In conjunction with this, attracting birds will greatly help. Tits especially love to eat these bugs and encouraging them into your garden with the correct bird food will reduce the moth numbers significantly.
The second stage of their development which makes them vulnerable is when the eggs hatch in late March to late April. At this stage the tree can be sprayed with a pesticide that will kill the caterpillars, many will also kill aphids as an added bonus. Read the labels carefully and follow the instructions in detail. Spraying when the tree has blossom on it is not a good idea because this may well kill pollinating insects – so read the instructions on the pack carefully. Pesticides which contain deltramethrin or pyrethrum are currently the ones to look for.
One other general approach which will reduce numbers is to cover around the base of the tree with a layer of black plastic. This will have two effects, firstly it will prevent the caterpillars from hiding in the ground when they drop to the floor and secondly it will prevent many of them emerging successfully in November.