Wisconsin DNR: how to handle invasive spongy moth

Gypsy moth caterpillar (larva).
Gypsy moth caterpillar (larva).(Bill McNee | Wisconsin DNR)
Published: May. 27, 2023 at 8:35 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Property owners are advised to check their trees for invasive spongy moth caterpillars, and take action to protect their trees, according to the Wisconsin DNR.

Spongy moth caterpillars can kill trees by stripping them of their leaves. They mostly feed on oak, birch, crabapple, aspen and willow leaves, but are not limited to these kinds.

The DNR provided recommendations for property owners on how to prevent and handle these caterpillars:

  • Use burlap collection bands as a non-pesticide option which physically destroys the caterpillars.
  • Insecticide treatments: these are not practical for woodlots but can be a suitable option for most trees.
  • Water trees regularly to reduce stress and limit damage caused by lost leaves.
  • Do not immediately cut down trees that have lost their leaves. Many healthy trees will produce a new set of leaves eventually.

Visit the Spongy Moth Information Portal for more information on how to prevent and manage spongy moth.

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