The Q&A Archives: Canker Worms

Question: Last spring, my trees and bushes (particularly my maples, most of which are quite large and old) were infested with millions of small green cankerworms. They defoliated the trees and bushes, and there were so many one could hear them eating. In the fall, we had lots of small white moths (I believe these are the mature males). How can I act to prevent this sort of infestation this spring?

Answer: Here are some methods of control. Cultivate under susceptible plants to a depth of 4 inches, which exposes the pupae to natural enemies, such as birds. Check carefully under branches, leaves, loose bark for masses of eggs and destroy them. Sticky traps can be placed on bands around the trunks. Horticultural oil and insecticides that are neem-based, can be applied, as well as Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki or Btk, which targets the caterpillars.

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