Act Now To Prevent a Gypsy Moth Caterpillar Infestation

Last year, gypsy moth caterpillars caused severe damage to hardwood forests and urban landscapes throughout much of the Eastern United States. They defoliated 362,254 acres in Massachusetts alone! Defoliation by gypsy moth caterpillars can weaken trees. Weakened trees are susceptible to bark beetles and root diseases that can kill them.

Luckily, there are some simple steps that you can take NOW to protect your trees by disrupting the gypsy moth life cycle.  This will help to prevent your property from being overrun with newly hatched caterpillars during the next spring. Let’s save the trees and eliminate this pest!

Keep Your Yard As Clean As Possible

Remove piles of old wood, dead branches, stumps, etc., where the adult female moth is likely to lay egg masses in the late summer. Also, remove any hiding places on the trees themselves; ivy, bark flaps and dead branches.

Spray Any Egg Massesgypsy moth egg mass

Early spring is your first chance to stop the destructive Gypsy Moth Caterpillar. To do this, we’re going to spray the egg masses. These are buff-colored after they are initially laid, but become lighter in color as they bleach in the sun and are commonly found on tree trunks, rocks, woodpiles and home foundations.

Head outside and take a quick look around your yard in these known problem areas. Make a mental map of all the places that have egg masses that you’ll need to spray.

We’re going to use Bonide’s All Seasons Horticultural Spray Oil® and thoroughly saturate all the visible egg masses in your area. You don’t have to remove any of the egg masses, simply spray them right where they are and they’re taken care of! All Seasons Horticultural Spray Oil® is available in either a concentrate (mixed with water, then sprayed) or a “ready to spray” solutions and trust us, they do the job.

bonide horticultural spray oilWhat makes All Seasons Horticultural Spray Oil® so effective? As a surfactant, it will coat the eggs and prevent any oxygen from entering, which will prevent the eggs from hatching. This MUST be done before mid-April in order to be effective.

Your ounce of prevention by mid-April can prevent thousands of pounds of leaves from being devoured and save your trees from becoming weakened and destroyed. The unfortunate truth is that these pesky critters travel, so you’ll still get them in your yard this year, but every egg mass that you treat today will make a difference going forward.

captain_jacks_dead_bug_brewFor any caterpillars that survive or travel to your yard after hatching elsewhere, use Bonide’s Captain Jack’s Deadbug Brew®.  It is the best product available for killing the gypsy moth caterpillar. Apply as a thin film coating on the bottom and top of the leaf. When the caterpillar chews on the leaf, it will die.  Captain Jack’s Deadbug Brew® is also available in both concentrate and “ready to spray” forms.

For more information about killing these traveling caterpillars, read our blog on How To Kill Gypsy Moth Caterpillars.

Wrap Up

To stock up on all of the products you’ll need to combat these hungry, hairy invaders, stop by your local Koopman Lumber store! We’ve got the friendliest, most knowledgeable staff around. We’ll be glad to help you arm yourself with the tools and know-how you need to protect your trees.