If the rain would stop for more than a moment, we could all venture outside and observe the welcome signs of spring, like birds chirping, and flowers and leaves sprouting. And,unfortunately, we could also observe some of the less welcome signs of spring … , like, Gypsy Moth caterpillars. Last year,Gypsy Moth damage in Rockaway, Jefferson, West Milford and parts of Sussex County was severe, and egg mass counts for this year indicate another infestation will occur in these areas. Areas that are close in proximity to last year’s ‘hot zones’ can also expect to have an increased incidence of damage from this pest, as the insects are spread by wind and other means.
The defoliation that occurs to trees when Gypsy Moth populations are high causes severe stress to trees. Deciduous trees are ‘designed’ to put out one crop of leaves each year. When a tree loses that crop of leaves from Gypsy moths, or any other reason, the tree must expend its ‘reserves’ to grow new leaves. This leaves the tree in a precarious condition.
Properly timed foliar sprays can prevent damage to your trees. Insecticide sprays will kill caterpillars on contact and will also kill caterpillars when they eat the tainted leaves. Naturally occurring bacteria sprays, called, BT, which is short for Bacillus Thuringiensis, are also an effective means to mitigate damage from Gypsy Moth Caterpillars. This material causes an internal reaction in the caterpillar once it eats a tainted leaf.
During severe infestations two treatments of insecticide or BT to your trees is highly recommended. Some areas that were severely affected last year are designated to be aerially treated with BT by the state, and in conjunction with local municipalities. In these designated areas, one additional treatment should suffice. If you would like one of our arborists to assess your property for potential treatment for this pest please call our office at 973-335-6650.