Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Just a timely reminder...

If you recall, at our January 24th meeting, Shirley Cole, Master Gardener, brought us an example of tent caterpillar egg casings to help us identify these destructive insects.  Shirley recommends that taking measures now by watching for and destroying any egg casings on your trees will certainly aid in lowering the number of tent caterpillars.  Rumours have it that there may be an abundance of these critters this year.   Linda Gilkeson, in her January 23rd newsletter, also recommends taking action against 'those pesky tent caterpillars'.  Following is an excerpt from Linda's newsletter. 

"If you have fruit trees, you will now be thinking of getting to dormant pruning. While you are at it, look for and remove tent caterpillar egg masses. There are a LOT of these this year on Salt Spring fruit trees (particularly apples) and also in some other areas. The egg masses are hard to see at first as they are coloured like the bark, but once you find a few it will be easier to spot more. The masses look like a small, grey (or silvery grey), flattened blob of hardened foam on small branches (finger width and smaller). The masses are about 1.5 cm long and wide and usually wrapped partly around the small branch--though this year, given the large number of moths around last summer, eggs were laid on other kinds of plants and surfaces. It takes a bit of picking to get the mass loose, but it will pop off in one piece and you can see the dozens of eggs inside. While the eggs are unlikely to survive once removed from the branch, it is a good idea to dispose of them (burn, compost, garbage)."

If you are interested in learning more about tent caterpillars, you will find interesting articles with great pictures on a blog by Seabrooke Leckie (I have included two links). 

tent caterpillar egg casings
photo by Seabrooke Leckie

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