If you have polar or aspen trees you are likely familiar with the caterpillars. For the second year, forest caterpillars have found a home in the MD. According to the MD of Bonnyville’s website, the caterpillars, who are native of North America, rarely remain in outbreak mode for more than two or three years. It is unknown really why that is or how long they will stay. The caterpillars are known to run on 10-15 year infestation cycles.
The caterpillars are known to hang around in June for five weeks then turn into a moth with a life-span of approximately five days. During that time, they lay their eggs which remain dormant until the following spring. The caterpillars may also cause the tree to lose its leaves, or defoliation. This may not be aesthetically pleasing, but it does not cause any lasting damage to the tree and mortality rates are very low.
Residents can use non-chemical methods to help get rid of these pests as insecticide not only kills caterpillars but will kill the beneficial insects with it. One recommended method is to clip and destroy the tent and caterpillars. The best time to catch the caterpillars in their tents is in the early morning, late evening or on cool, rainy days. We also recommend wrapping a wide band of a sticky substance (Tanglefoot) around the affected tree at chest height. This will work much the same as flypaper. There are also organic insecticides containing Bacillus thuringiensis, which work when larvae feast on leaves that have been treated.