Nope, wrong critter but a little close in looks at caterpiller stage. Gypsy
ones don't make a tent in the tree, and have red and blue dots. Tent types
have a white stripe and red dots and live in little tents they make all
about the tree. They make a different moth and one that isnt particularily
the same in looks.
Tent caterpillers are ugly on trees, but normally do not damage the tree
unless an infestation is allowed to go for years. This case, is a 3rd year
with treatment first 2 but new owner this year didnt do anything.
I think I need a powerwasher/sprayer at last. Estimate 60ft tree. Get
neighbor permission and use the simple organic soap which kills this stuff
and is for residential use (kids and pet safe). But, I have to think this
out. I dont know how to get enough water pressure into something like that
to hit 60ft up from ground level.
Must be something about the tree (or the environment) that make ths tree
especially appetizing to the caterpillars. If I am not mistaken, it is
the type of tree they like, and usually the infestation comes and goes,
one year very bad, the next not so bad. Have you asked the local
Cooperative Extension for advice?
Well, neighbor out there trying to hose off his roof a bit. Seems you cant
walk in his front door without caterpillars dropping on you.
I did so research and will bring him by some printouts. There's a soap that
can be put in a powerwasher and he'll get one. Safe for his garden (he
grows grapes and some side things like i do), safe for his kids, safe for my
dog. He's gonna get ahold of his next door neighbor and get permission to
stand on his shed to reach that side. He can get most from his own roof.
The rest, he should be able to reach from my roof and his own side shed.
Next door neighbor on his other side will get treated too, but we have to be
careful. He's getting all pissy that the caterpillars hit his tree for the
first time and instead of working *with* us all, he's all about blame. I
told him he's a knothead and i've had to treat his tree from across my fence
for tree spiders every year.
What's actually humourous here is i am the only one who is basically
treeless. I have 1 flowering pear (front yard, not affected), 1 holly bush
(we chop it back to 4-5ft annually), and some boxwoods (3ft or so tall).
The one who's most angry is the one who doesnt care at all if his problem
impinges me, but is outraged that this new owner didnt know to treat the
tree in his first year and had an explosion and is now just asking for help.
The one providing the help, is little ol' me, the one with no trees in the
back yard ;-)
So, plan is print out the specs for the 'soap' of the right type and
how/when to treat and pass to him, then drag out the ladder and help best as
I can when he's ready to try it.
Preferred namebrands of the soap type would be good. Preferrably something
a Lowes or such would have in stock.
IIRC, tent caterpillars go in a 7 year cycle. None, then a few then more ....
Finally there are enough that a parasitic wasp that lays its eggs in them gets
abundant enough that they almost all get killed off.
BT is the spray of choice for these.
Interesting! In fact, now that you mention wasps, it's the first year I
havent seen any.
BTW, didnt mention it but this isnt the normal tree type for this. It's a
hickory. The nuts arent ready to eat yet and the squirrels get most of
them, but we can crop up a good bucketful when we want from the back yard.
I remember reading long ago that the preferred method was to torch the
bags (called "bag worms" in Indiana). I googled and found a couple of
reliable discussions for treating infestations:
Both of these mention "microbial insecticide, Bacillus thuringiensis".
Sounds like a job for an arborist if the infestation continues.
Not that useful when dealing with a roughly 60ft high, 40ft wide Hickory.
;-) The worst spots are at the very top.
I googled and found a couple of
Pretty much same I used. Then bulletin 504 and printed out the stuff
relevant for the backyard neighbor. Good soul there. I just passed it to
him across the fence.
Between kids and pets, we are going to try multiple 'soap' type pesticides.
This has to hit high and there will be much wind drift so we can't use
anything that might cause a problem to others. Dense residential area. 1/4
acre or so plots. LOTS of TREES. The main reason why we dont have one, is
all the neighbors do so close to us, we cant really get one in edgewise
except the one and only flowering pear (grin).
Funny aspect of backyard neighbor. He's got a tree growing *on* the
property line of his backyard. The fence has a little boxy thing around it
then it continues on. Predates both current owners of that house, and back
to a kindler gentler time.
I remember that from growing up in southern Indiana! Thought it was
gross at the time, and wondered why they whole tree didn't burn down.
They would use soaked rags on a stick, or even tie a propane torch to a
stick. Not sure how they did the tall trees.
I wonder how much good a pellet gun would do, or a leaf blower with a
skinny pipe on the end.
Break up the tents with a long pole and let the birds eat the
caterpillars. You may need to break up the nests a few times, but it
is effective. The problem using an insecticide is that you may end
up in a toxic mist.
Mine are too high to reach too. I've begun a Sevin spraying program for
my Chinese chestnuts to keep free of worms from weevils and have hit
adjacent English walnuts full of tents. I've only seen one caterpillar
so Sevin must be wiping them out.
BT;Bacillus thuringiensis. It's very selective and harmless to other
How to get it up into your neighbor's tree is another matter.
Maybe use a leaf blower? feed the dust into the air intake and blow it up
so it drifts onto the tree.(when the neighbors are out somewhere....)
HD or lowes sells a nozzle that you can attach to a length of PVC piping to
excavate under concrete slab. you secure it to the PVC with standard PVC
cement (otay or something similar is the brand @ HD) and the fixtures to
attach a length of PVC to a hose are readably available. The combination of
the excavation sprayer attached to about 2 feet of PVC and garden hose has a
reach of 50 feet or so--probably more. I know because I was hitting
squirrels well into the neighbor's yard with this combination.
Simple to get your soap dispenser inline before the PVC and excavator nozzle
in such a set up.
Cost you about 10.00 or less.
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