The European gypsy moth caterpillar, an invasive pest, has seen its population rise in Waterloo Region this summer and residents are wondering what they can do to stop the damage they cause.
The caterpillars feed on leaves (lots and lots of leaves!) and if left untouched can wreak havoc over forests and large leafy trees in private yards. Gypsy moths are attracted to trees such as sugar maple, American beech, and softwoods such as eastern white pine, balsam fir, and Colorado blue spruce.
While municipalities are trying to protect forests and trees in public spaces, local officials are calling on residents to do their part.
The City of Waterloo is recommending residents do this to help control the gypsy moth population:
- Wrap burlap around the trunk of the tree, a couple of feet above the ground
- Collect the caterpillars as they come down the tree canopy during the day and get caught in the burlap
- Check bands regularly and scrape caterpillars into a container with soapy water. Leave them for a few days and dispose in garbage
Officials are reminding residents not to use sticky traps as they are harmful to insects, pollinators, and birds.
Historically gypsy moth outbreaks occur every 7-10 years and there are added steps outside the prime summer season to help the problem ahead of next year.
Ontario lists these ways to get rid of the gypsy moth throughout the year:
|Timing||Life stage||Control options|
|August to mid-April||Egg masses||Remove egg masses and discard|
|Mid-April to mid-May||Early stage caterpillar||Apply biological pesticide|
|Mid-May to June||Late stage caterpillar||Attach burlap bands and discard larvae|
|June to mid-July||Pupae||Remove by hand and discard|
|July to August||Adult moth||Short-lived; focus on other stages|
. . .
Staebler Insurance is a general insurance broker specializing in auto insurance, home insurance, small business, and commercial insurance. Staebler brokers proudly serve Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, Stratford, Listowel, Fergus, Elora, Wellington County, Perth County, Waterloo Region and southern Ontario. Click here to get started.