I was in Amelia Island, FL for Easter and having a nice glass of wine before we went inside to dine at a wonderful restaurant called Plae. I noticed that the tables nearest the tree were vacant. I thought perfect…until I began to look around and the caterpillars were climbing all over the railings and stumbled onto the table and chairs. We decided we were going to tough it out for the outdoor enjoyment, but it was so hard to focus that I eventually gave up and went inside for a wonderful meal, so don’t not go! It reminded me of what is to come and so when I got home I armed myself for a caterpillar free 2009.
I realized my hatred of caterpillars in the spring of 2008. It got so bad, in my mind of course, that I almost sold my house over it. After living in cities for 9 years I forgot the dominance of Mother Nature in the country. In 2008 I learned the hard way, I was too late too fight the good fight, but this year will be different.
I was in Pennsylvania this weekend and I visited the same spots I saw the nests in 2008 and they had already began “tenting”. Although I might be 1 month ahead of the game, I am going to do my best to prevent the infestation.
My choice weapon is, Tanglefoot, it a chemical free pest management product. I pair this with Safer Brand, Caterpillar Killer spray for the leaves of any young low bearing trees or shrubs. And finally once the caterpillars become moths, I put out traps. I will be interested in seeing the difference my efforts make in 2009 and will keep you posted.
Tent Caterpillars and Gypsy Moths severely damage tree growth and leaf production. Notify your town if the problem is persistent because the more complaints the more likely they are to regionally spray and address the problem. For more details, NY State Dept. of Environment.