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LDD months won’t be as much of a pest this year

May 12, 2022   ·   0 Comments

Those pesky LDD (formerly Gypsy moths) moths shouldn’t be as big of a problem on your trees this year.

Last season, the critters were all over the place in Ontario causing home owners to try a variety of remedies to combat this invasive species.

The moths, now commonly known as spongy moths, are a non-native insect that was brought to North America from Europe in the 1860s.

The larvae feed on a wide range of deciduous and some coniferous trees.

Oak, Birch, Aspen, Willow, Sugar Maple, American Beech, and Elm trees are the preferred diet of the insects.

During the larval stage of the moth life cycle in late May and June, the feeding stage may cause substantial defoliation of the trees during peak years.

Deciduous trees may die after several successive years of defoliation while coniferous trees may die after just one season of being attacked by the insects.

Populations of the moth are cyclical with a surge every seven to ten years.

There was an outbreak in parts of Simcoe County in 2019 followed by a particularly severe outbreak in 2020.

Last year many local residents attempted to rid their property and trees of the caterpillars using a variety of methods.

This included applying a horticultural oil to the egg masses and scraping the eggs off of the tree trunks.

Many trees in neighbourhoods were seen wrapped in duct tape or something similar to prevent the caterpillars from climbing back up onto a tree.

Conservation authorities are reporting a light to moderate infestation in the spring of 2022 with some areas being more affected than others.

Some areas, around 11 per cent of forest areas could have severe defoliation while 53 per cent could have light or no defoliation.

If you think you have LDD moths on your trees, you can try the duct tape method through the month of May.

To do this, wrap two layers of duct tape around your trees with the sticky side facing out. This will create a path the caterpillars won’t be able to cross.

Moving into June, the caterpillars will be in the adult stage.

You can use a burlap skit to collect the adult caterpillars. The caterpillars move down the tree during the day for shelter.

The burlap gives the caterpillar a place to stay sheltered.

You can easily capture and destroy them at this point by checking the burlap every afternoon.

If you use this method, be sure to wear gloves as the caterpillar hairs can cause a rash and some people have reported allergic reactions from airborne caterpillar hair.

By Brian Lockhart

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