Gypsy Moths can be particularly pesky because they get right at leaves – and instead of merely chewing a few holes, will go as far as to strip away entire leaves at a time. If left unattended, they can cost a lot of damage to a tree’s overall health. So how do you deal with them?
What they are
The first real outbreak of the gypsy moth was in 1890 and they’ve more or less been a staple of New England summer life ever since. Generally speaking, they grow in four phases:
- They lay eggs towards the end of summer
- Next spring they hatch as caterpillars. They immediately start to eat
- After about a month of eating, the rest in pupil cases until they’re ready to hatch
- The in July or August, they hatch as brown winged moths and get ready to procreate all over again
What kind of damage do they do?
Like we said earlier, Gypsy Moths strip trees of their leaves. They tend to like Oaks the most, but they’ll also go after basswoods, birches, hawthorns and willow trees. The problem they create is that when they strip the leaves off trees, they leave them exposed and vulnerable to infections – infections that lead to other issues.
Think about when someone has a virus or an auto-immune disease. They don’t usually die from the disease itself, they die from the illnesses they contract as a result of the disease sapping their immune systems of the ability to fight basic infections.
What you can do
Like any pest, the best thing you can do is be proactive. If you have vulnerable trees, begin preventive treatments and talk to your arborist about using the right kind of insecticide. You can also consider adding a tree band in the later stages of the springtime. These bands can trap gypsy moths as they ascend your tree’s branches.
In addition, there are some basic steps you can take as well. Fertilizing your tree will help give it an immune boost; helping it to better fend off infections even if gypsy moths get ahold of it undetected. Then of course, there’s always water. Water is a tree’s best friend and will help you avoid any added stress caused by environmental factors like drought.
At the end of the day, it’s worth it to call a pro to put a plan in place to help you manage. They’ll help you formulate a roadmap that will help keep your trees happy, healthy and gypsy moth free!