Spreading into our backyards, popular parks, and favorite trails, the gypsy moth has been causing disturbance across Ontario. Some people had to change their “running routes” and others are left cleaning “caterpillar excrement”. An Etomoly technician at the Invasive Species Centre in Sault St. Marie, David Dutkiewicz, claims last year was the worst gypsy moth infestation Ontario has ever seen.
Dutkiewicz said, there are some remedies that can help get rid of the insect, but is dependant on what part of the life cycle it’s in. During August and April Gypsy moths are in the egg stage, where they can be easily scraped off trees with a butter knife. He says you just have to look for the egg masses on trees.
Next is the caterpillar phase which Dutkiewicz recommends a bio-pesticide spray called BTK. It can be found at a local garden centre or hardware store. In order for it to be effective, “the caterpillars have to actually ingest the bio-pesticide basically in May in order for it to have any effect in June or whenever.” Using the spray now would be a waster of money because there are not as many leaves for the insect to eat.
For right now he recommends “the burlap trap method” as the insect would be looking for shade around this time. Simply wrapping a burlap band at chest level around a tree will attract the caterpillars. Check the burlap once or twice a day and throw any caterpillars into soapy water.
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