My crab apple tree has caterpillars in silk bags in the crotches of limbs. How do I rid the tree of these and prevent further issues?
Note: I sprayed Sevin on the trunk from the base to 2 ft high on 17 March, on 19 Mar I noticed the first silk bags forming. Most of the silk bags are 12-25 ft high.
Hardiness Zone: 7a
Scott from Hollywood, MD
Eastern Tent caterpillar larvae feed on the leaves of most deciduous trees and shrubs, but especially crab apples, aspens and wild cherry trees. In the past few years, caterpillar numbers have been high in your area. Thankfully, these population explosions are cyclical, and native parasites will eventually bring numbers back under control.
One idea for getting rid of the sacks high up in your tree is to wind them onto a broomstick with nails projecting from it. This is best done in the morning when the caterpillars are inside their tents. Where you can reach, you can also prune and burn the infested branches. Another, (microbial) method of control is spraying Bacillus thuringiensis var.kurstaki, also known as (BTK). This is a bacterial insecticide that caterpillars ingest as they feed. It poisons them over the course of a few days and they drop to the ground. BTK should be applied while caterpillar larvae are still small and easy to control. It is applied in the evening or early morning when the caterpillars are in the nests.
One way to prevent future infestations is by attracting native parasitic flies and wasps. This can be done by growing small, flowering herbs like Queen Anne's lace, catnip, and wildflowers around your garden and near the base of your tree.
Here's a great link for more information specific to your area.
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Here in Piney Woods of East Tx, we get worms and we call them web worms. What I do is get a bunch of paper wrap it around a long stick and burn the webs. Be careful have a hose close by then get some stockings with moth balls in them and throw them up into the tree branche. Keep doing it and it will do the trick. I don't have any now, but I keep a watch out and as soon as I see any, I will do it again. Good luck.
I have in the past cut of the branch that has the tent on it and burned it. Usually you will get most of the caterpillars if they are still in larvae stage and in the tents.
In the spring, my dad always poured kerosine on them and burned them when they were still in the tents as eggs and larvae.
I have had the same problem several times. The best method I have used is to buy a can of Hornet spray that will spray a longer distance than other sprays. I aim the nozzle as close to the middle of the web as I can and spray it real good. It worked good for me. Those nasty things will get in you flower bed and strip the leaves off roses and other flowers. I found the spray at Wal Mart and Lowes.
We had the same problem last summer. The things lived in a neighbor's tree whose branches overhung our yard. I do know that insecticides work in the trees, but be very careful that you don't get insecticide on you.
I also went up myself and cut the branches of the tree that were over my yard and used them for firewood. Check your laws governing that one - I filed a complaint with the city, as that property was filthy.
Hi, when I lived in the country years back, we had these in our hickory trees. We also used Dawn dishwasher liquid 1/2 cup in 1 gallon of water plus 2 tablespoons of tabasco sauce and sprayed it up in the trees. Worked like a charm. I also used this on my vegetable garden as I do not use insecticides and it worked wonderful.
I always use a liquid soap solution for these webby worms! Also a good solution to the crane fly larvae. We used the shaklee basic h but any good soap works. great also for the no see-ums around lights in campers just sponge it on and watch them fall! Hope it helps you! Cheaper than insecticides, and better for you to be around!
je in Oregon
If you or your neighbor(s) have chickens, take them down with a broom as suggested earlier, drop them in the hen coop. They'll go absolutely nuts gorging on them and that will be that.
I didn't read all of the other posts you received but I just got our community paper today. There is an article in there about the caterpillars. Its says orioles love these worms.
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This wont help this year, but next spring when frost is still in the ground, wrap aluminum foil around the trunks of your trees just before they start to branch out. Secure with twine.
By Marion in Ontario
What you can do right now is. At night when you know they are in the nest. Set it on fire. Just before the sunsets -- or you can do that any time really.
Take Care. (06/08/2005)
By Joyce wis
We used dawn dishsoap water when we had them a few years back...I think it was 1/3 soap and 2/3 water...apply often...if you get one of those sprayers that go on the hose it works great. (06/08/2005)
Raid kills 'em dead ! (06/10/2005)