Controlling Tent Caterpillars

by John

We've had a HUGE infestation of Forest/Western tent caterpillars here on Pender Island, B.C. Canada....... we know they really like Alder/cottonwood almost all deciduous trees and have devestated our Apple Orchards ... pretty sad! So my question is what should we do to prevent future disasters??... We have large older trees which are pretty much impossible to "clean" during the winter...I've used a "tiger torch" to attempt to keep ahead of these critters..almost a 24/7 job........ any suggestions re. a spray that could be used over the winter? I know that BTK can be used as the leaves form in the spring(which I'll do next year)..any other ideas???? thnx... john

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Aug 01, 2012
Tent caterpillar control NEW
by: ~ Megan

I certainly sympathise with you, being outnumbered by a vast army of little squishy munchers.

As you probably know, tent caterpillars, like many other pests and disease infestations, come to an end, usually in 1 to 3 years. Natural predators such as parasitic flies are attracted to them and these build up in number so that they quickly cause a rapid decline in tent caterpiller numbers. Also a cold wet spring and early summer can kill the emerging larvae from the hatching eggs.

Other reasons for their decline are that they can be devasted by a virus, or simply run out of food and move on.

Not sure about your 'tiger torch'! Be carefull you don't set fire to something - have a hose handy. You could try hosing or using a stiff brush to clear the eggs and cocoons away at this time of the year. If you have to, the natural microbial insecticide, BTK (Bacillus thuringiensis. kurstaki) is worth trying later in spring.

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