Have you been outside recently and noticed an uptick in tiny little caterpillars roaming around your trees, patio furniture and crawling up your house? These are Gypsy Moths and have hit Simcoe County and the surrounding areas quite hard this year. They won’t really do damage in one year (they can over several years), but they are very annoying. Here’s what to do to control them around your Collingwood home.
These invasive creatures cycle approximately every seven to 10 years and spread to Ontario in the late 1960s. Their larvae feed on deciduous trees, although they don’t kill the trees, but cause substantial defoliation. May and June are particularly bad, but it is the best time to combat them.
If you notice their eggs on your trees, you can scrape them off and place them in a jar filled with soapy water and then dispose of them once they’ve died. You can also put a burlap cloth around the tree and create a cavity for them to collect in there. From there, you can put them in soapy water to kill them.
If you’ve missed this stage and they have hatched, many find success in putting duct tape around the tree, sticky side up, where the caterpillars will walk on it and get stuck and eventually perish. It also prevents them from climbing back up onto the tree if they’ve fallen off. If they are on other surfaces, simply mix dish soap and water in a spray bottle and spray them down wherever you see them.
Pesticides are an option, but many communities frown upon this option as it can contaminate water supplies.
Cities are looking for solutions for this issue and many people are divided on which solution is best. Note that this isn’t just a problem in Collingwood, but in quite a bit of Ontario.
It is best not to touch the caterpillars with your bare hands as some people find they are sensitive to the hairs and can get an allergic reaction. It actually feels like a mosquito bite and can get quite itchy.
If you are interested in selling your Collingwood home, Christine Smith can help you with that!