Twig Tips by Jodie

Posted on May 10, 2017 by jo

Something is BUGGING me....

Something is bugging me and I bet you are just dying to find out what it is.  Well, it's going to be bugging you pretty soon too if it hasn't already happened.  It's the caterpillars!!! They will drive us all crazy in May.  First it is those disgusting Eastern Tent Caterpillars that you will find in your crabapples and other fruit trees (they love anything in the Cherry family, ornamental or otherwise). Now, a lot of you mistakenly refer to these dudes as bagworms because they make a bag (correctly "tent") in the branches of the trees and shrubs, but PULEEEEZE, stop that!!!  Bagworms are another despicable bug that will show up in your evergreens later in the summer and I will talk more on that when it's time.  To learn more about the Eastern Tent Caterpillar, the Purdue Extension Service has a great flier about them. Click here to learn more than you ever thought you wanted to know about a caterpillar.

The other caterpillar (well, technically it's not actually a caterpillar but it will look like one to you) to watch for that will show up literally overnight and completely defoliate your mugho pines is the European Sawfly larva.  YUK!  The good news is that they are easy to kill, and for those of you that are organic gardeners and want to stay away from chemicals, there are a couple of good things to do.  Both sawfly larvae and tent caterpillar can be controlled with hot soapy water (break open the tents first, remove and dunk them in a bucket) and/or spray the tree with an insecticidal soap.  Another teatment that is not harmful to beneficial insects and is considered an organic treatment is called Spinosad. If you don't mind using "regular" chemical treatments, hit them with Sevin or Spectracide. 

Think about this as a war of's US against THEM.  We have an investment in our plantings, it is our duty to protect and defend, right?  So, go forth and KILL the little buggers!!!

Off to hug my tree and kill a caterpillar or 2 or 3   - Jodie 


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