Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) raises awareness of potential Gypsy Moth caterpillar infestation, actions homeowners can take to reduce its impact
European Gypsy Moth is a defoliating insect (an insect that consumes leaves) and it can severely weaken trees.
“We’ve definitely seen pockets with a higher than usual number of egg masses on trees, with some trees almost completely covered,” said Ian Jean, ABCA Forestry Specialist.
Download the Gypsy Moth fact sheet now:
Fact_Sheet_Gypsy_Moth_ABCA_LR (1 MB – Large PDF file)
Gypsy Moth caterpillars feed on the leaves of several species of trees.
“In our area, Oak, Aspen, Birch and Basswood are the tree species preferred by the Gypsy Moth,” Ian said.
However, in years with high populations, Jean cautions caterpillars will move on from preferred hosts to eat a wider variety of trees including Maple, Pine, and Spruce. “When there are a lot of them, they’re hungry, they’ll eat whatever is available,” he said.
Homeowners can take steps to reduce the population now, according to Ausable Bayfield Conservation.
During winter and early spring, the caterpillars exist as egg masses which are clusters of 100 to 1,000 eggs, covered by a coating of tan-coloured hairs. Egg masses look a bit like a cocoon but are flatter and attached to the outside of tree bark, rocks, or the sides of buildings.
“The egg mass is a critical stage and it is the most efficient time to manage this pest,” Ian advises. “By disposing of egg masses homeowners can, with minimal effort, eliminate literally thousands of potential caterpillars.” Egg masses are easy to scrape off surfaces with a dull scraper and dispose of in a ziplock sealable bag or similar bag. “It’s important to dispose of the egg masses,” Ian said, as eggs left on the ground will still emerge and find their way back up to the trees.
Caterpillars begin to emerge in late April and early May. Fortunately, there are also ways to manage the caterpillars as well. After caterpillars emerge they climb trees to disperse on silk thread, a stage called ballooning. Encircling trees with barrier bands of double-sided tape, or duct tape coated with sticky material such as Vaseline, will collect the caterpillars as they climb back up to the trees. Barrier bands should be in place by late April.
As the weather warms in late May and June, caterpillars tend to feed at night, and climb down the tree to shelter from the heat during the day. At this stage, burlap or light-coloured cloth can be wrapped around tree trunks to collect the caterpillars. “It is important to fold the burlap back over itself to create a cavity, they’ll congregate within there for disposal,” Ian said. Caterpillars should be collected and disposed of daily by scraping them into a bucket of soapy water and re-applying the burlap.
While defoliation is a major stress on trees, Ian advises “rarely does it kill the tree, and most recover and re-grow smaller leaves later in the same summer.”
Homeowners can take action now to reduce the caterpillar’s impact. Ian suggests people can “check out your trees, the side of your house, other surfaces and remove and dispose of those egg masses.”
Public Consultation Notice – Shoreline Protection on Municipal Property
The Municipality of Bluewater seeks your input regarding the installation of shoreline protection on municipal property. Due to erosion, private property owners have requested to install shoreline protection on municipal property to protect their own properties. To date, Council has permitted the installation of erosion mitigation measures on one property. Multiple reports have been presented to Council regarding these requests, the most recent being a draft policy regarding “Shoreline Protection on Municipal Property”. The intent of the policy is to apply guidelines for potential construction of shoreline protection on municipal properties, while at the same time mitigating risk of potential liability due to the installation of shoreline protection on municipal property by private property owners. Please click the link to view shoreline protection reports and draft policy.
Your opinion matters, please click the link to complete the ten-question survey. Comments can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
THE DRAFT POLICY COMMENT PERIOD IS OPEN UNTIL FRIDAY, MARCH 19, 2021 PERSONAL INFORMATION WILL BE CONFIDENTIAL.
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The Municipality of Bluewater is about to conduct a review of its service delivery and asks for your input.
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BSRA Board of Directors
Shoreline Resident Sid Huff has kindly been keeping us updated on a shoreline protection project with neighbors, working under the new Shoreline Management Plan, and here is his final report Installing shoreline protection under the new ABCA regime – Final Update
In a post on October 25th, 2019 we shared with you some comments by shoreline resident Sid Huff on his experience installing shoreline protection under the new guidelines. Sid has kindly updated us on his progress and here are his comments.
I’m very happy to tell you that our contractor finished the wall construction a few weeks ago. We had assumed that he would be doing it during the winter months, but that didn’t turn out to be the case.
Each of us received an interim invoice from the contractor to cover the cost of the steel, back in October 2019 – roughly half of the total that we had agreed with him. So at that point, we were hopeful that he would commence the work fairly soon after that. However, apparently there were some extended difficulties in getting the steel beams and panels manufactured and delivered, though I don’t have much information on that. From what I can tell, it wasn’t the contractor’s fault, and perhaps not the steel producer’s fault either. It might have had something to do with tariffs between the US and Canada, or with the supply chain of materials to the steel manufacturer, some other reason.
The steel was finally produced and delivered to the contractor in March 2020 and stored on an empty lot near Sararas Road. (Some of the steel was destined for a similar job the contractor had secured near that location.) The contractor did finally start on our structure in early April and actually finished it up fairly quickly, within about three weeks. (There were a number of days during that period when the contractor couldn’t work on our structure, because the wind and the waves were too high.) I and my two neighbors have now received our final invoices. There were no issues here, the contractor charged us precisely what we had agreed upon (on a handshake only) back in the summer of 2019. And from my relatively untutored eye, the wall itself appears to be very well made and fully up to the task of protecting our bank from further erosion.
Personally, my wife and I are extremely happy that this is finally done. It’s a lot easier to sleep soundly at night when the wind is howling in from the west and the waves are substantial, knowing that they are not doing further erosion damage at the base of our bank. While the financial cost has been considerable, looking back on it at this point, it is fully worth it.