This season has definitely brought an unpleasant experience for many Ontarians as a species of caterpillars called Lymantria dispar dispar (European gypsy moth) have begun to take over their properties. These are an invasive species of moth caterpillars that have overtaken many peoples’ properties and stripped trees bare. As they are an invasive species, they can be difficult to get rid of once they have made themselves at home. However, there are ways to prevent these creatures from getting too comfortable and ruining your property. If you are seeking methods to prevent Lymantria dispar dispar (European gypsy moth) from overtaking your yard, continue reading!
Identify Lymantria dispar dispar (European gypsy moth)
In order to appropriately prevent these creatures from invading, it is important to be able to identify them and tell them apart from other critters. When they are in their caterpillar stage, they are identified by the blue and red dots on their backs. They have 5 pairs of blue dots and six pairs of red dots, lined on their backs. When they are adults the females are around 5cm in wingspan, they are white, and they cannot fly. Whereas males are brown, have a wingspan of around 2.5cm and they can fly. When spotting a female, you may also notice egg masses, which are where the females store their eggs, they are tan in colour and appear fuzzy. If you notice the egg sacs it is important to dispose of them as soon as possible and using the correct method. We will further explain those methods below! Identifying these moths early on is important in order to plan ahead and prevent them from running rampant on your property.
Get rid of the Egg masses
If you spot moth egg masses on your property, it is likely you may already have an infestation. Lymantria dispar dispar (European gypsy moth) egg masses will often hatch the following spring. In order to prevent a second infestation the following season, it is important to get rid of and destroy egg masses. These female moths prefer to lay their eggs masses in shaded and protected areas. These areas include stacks of firewood, under picnic tables, lawn furniture, trailers, bases of trees and tree trunks. In order to prevent the return of these moths next season, simply removing them will not be enough. If you have found an egg mass, remove it and place it into a bucket of soapy water. You can also bury them or burn them. Getting rid of these egg masses are important in preventing the return of Lymantria dispar dispar (European gypsy moth) the following season.
Lymantria dispar dispar (European gypsy moth) are attracted to the trees on your property, leaving the trees and your property in a complete mess. Barrier bands are a helpful method in order to prevent them from climbing up your tree and destroying its leaves. You can select sticky barrier bands which are wrapped around the trunk of your tree and trap the caterpillars before they can continue to the top. Wrap the bands around your tree at around chest level. Another method is using burlap bands around your trees. The caterpillars will often become caught and tangled underneath the burlap bands. These methods have been effective in trapping and preventing caterpillars from destroying trees. If caterpillars are unable to gain access to trees, they are likely to remove themselves from your property in order to find what they are looking for. You can check daily to remove any caterpillars you may find caught in your bands and add a new band to the tree.
Keep your Yard Tidy
As mentioned above, female moths prefer to lay the egg sacs in shaded and protected areas. If you have any lawn furniture, firewood, tables or other items in your yard causing clutter, it would be wise to clean out your yard. Leaving your yard filled with clutter could be inviting these moths to return throughout the seasons. If you have an infestation, cleaning out your yard will help in preventing female moths from making your yard the shelter and shade they seek for their eggs.
Call the professionals
Lymantria dispar dispar (European gypsy moth) infestations can certainly be troublesome and getting rid of them yourself can be overwhelming. If you are unsure how to prevent or get rid of these caterpillars and moths, contact us at SOS Wildlife control and we will do our best to answer your questions and meet your needs. With our expertise and knowledge of pests, we can provide you with our insight and services!
Although these caterpillars and moths can be difficult to prevent once they have taken over, there are methods to ensure that they do not return next season. Ensure that you are able to identify the caterpillars and moths, keep your yard clean, get rid of egg masses and use barrier bands. At SOS Wildlife Control we are trusted for safe and effective pest control and wildlife removal for Toronto and the surrounding GTA. If you suspect an infestation or need assistance in effectively removing wildlife from your space call us locally at (647) 995 – 9453 or toll free at 1-800 – 981 – 0330 for all of your wildlife removal needs.