Caterpillars Are Back In Season

From Gypsy to Spongy: Caterpillars are back in Season

What you may have known as the gypsy moth has a new common name, spongy moth. Now, this may sound more adorable, but they are still one of the most widespread and destructive invasive species in North America. These little caterpillars are recognizable by their tan hairy bodies, yellow faces and pairs of blue and red dots down their back. Another way to identify a spongy moth infestation is its characteristic egg mass, which has the consistency and color of a sea sponge, one of the reasons for the new name.

When To Look Out

The time to look out for them is mainly from May through July and it can take up to 7 weeks for the caterpillars to turn into adult moths. This can mean weeks of foliage damage, unsightly and down-right gross droppings which can make outdoor activities unpleasant, and lastly, potential danger to those who are sensitive to the small hairs on their bodies that can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Their main food source is leaves, specifically on oaks, birch, maple, beech, and even some evergreens.

Although some states have a  program to combat this invasive species, All Green Lawn Care has the answer for caring for your personal trees! Our tree and shrub program will not only reduce the damage spongy moth caterpillars cause by devouring your tree’s foliage but it will also help to protect them from any other diseases that the foliage damage makes them susceptible to. In both the early spring and late fall, we apply dormant oil to the trunk of your trees to help eliminate the wintering stages of many insects, including the spongy moths. The dormant oil smothers the over-wintering egg masses left on tree trunks and prevents them from hatching the following year. To eliminate the already hatched caterpillar, we recommend our three insect and disease control sprays which start in May or June and run through August. With these sprays, we can treat 20 feet up the trees and eliminate the damaging caterpillars before they have a chance to pupate into adult moths and perpetuate the infestation.

Contact All Green

Give one of our branches a call today if you’re struggling with a spongy moth infestation!

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