Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wondering Wednesday: Feeling Defeated By the Gypsy Moth Caterpillars

Oaks, maples, and pine trees encircle my home. In the summer, the shade from their leaves brings a welcome coolness to our yard from the heat and humidity. In the winter, the intricate shapes and designs of the bare leaves give me much to ponder as I survey the changed landscape.

In the spring, little caterpillars hatched out of egg clusters and began to make their way up the oak trees. Hundreds of thousands of gypsy moth caterpillars crunching through the leaves and pooping sound like rain dropping on leaves. My driveway is a disaster. When it rains, the water mixes with the poop and leaves to create the most disgusting concoction on my driveway and car. You have no idea how frustrating, annoying, and gross this is.

I spend at least an hour everyday cleaning off my driveway so we can walk on it to get to the cars. My tree branches are sparsely covered. Caterpillars almost cover the bark so you can't tell where the caterpillars end and the bark begins.

Fighting this pests is a really difficult challenge. I don't want to damage my trees or hurt any potential wildlife. At the moment, we have put little screw with a pesticide that only kills the caterpillars through the leaves. I also wrapped the trunks of several trees with duct tape. The caterpillars won't go on the sticky side so they are stuck.

I feel frustrated and thwarted by this little pest. I know they are just doing what they were born to do--eat, turn into moths, mate, and lay eggs. It's their destiny. Treating them with a professional tree service is way out of our budget, so we are trying to do the best we can with our available resources.

I did get a little burst of hope though from this news article from Connecticut that fungus has been killed the caterpillars. I can only hope the fungus will spread to our trees.

Have you ever dealt with a gypsy moth infestation? What did you do? Did you feel frustrated by it too?


No comments: