Gypsy Moth Outbreak Team

Dear Huron Woods Property Owners,

As many of you are aware, there has been a gypsy moth outbreak along the corridor of Highway #21 including sections of Huron Woods.  Residents, who lived here in 1994, will remember our last severe outbreak.  On May 19, 1994, the Pinery Provincial Park had an aerial spray of BTk (Bacillus thuringiensis) applied because of the extensive caterpillar infestation. Huron Woods followed suit on or about June 8, 1994. The naturally occurring biological insecticide used, BTk (Bacillus thuringiensis) has been safely used in many countries for over thirty years.  It is found in soil and is harmless to humans, animals, birds, aquatic life, ladybugs, and honeybees.

Defoliation by gypsy moth caterpillars does not necessarily kill the affected trees; however, several seasons of infestation, combined with other environmental stress factors such as drought, weakens the trees making them vulnerable to attack by insects and fungi. If refoliation occurs the trees require reserve foods thus adding another strain to the affected trees.

When the caterpillars feed, they excrete small black pellets of frass making it unpleasant, if not impossible, to enjoy outdoor activities. The young larvae can be carried on their silken threads by wind currents for a distance up to one kilometre thus spreading  from one location to another quite easily. In the summer of 2019, there were localized infestations in Port Franks, Grand Bend and Hay Swamp according to the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority. This year the infestation in Port Franks is more severe and more communities are becoming infected.  We could have a more extensive occurrence in Huron Woods in spring 2021.

There are things you, as homeowners, have done to date and can continue to do: banding and burlap skirts to remove caterpillars, pheromone traps to interrupt the mating cycle and scraping egg masses from tree trunks, garden furniture, log piles, etc.  If an infestation is serious enough, aerial spraying with BTk is a viable option. For more detailed information on gypsy moths, controls and their life cycle check out the City of London’s website at 
http://www.london.ca/residents/Environment/Trees-Forests/Pages/Gypsy-Moth.aspx.

With the objective of sharing and co-ordinating information and suggesting various options for controlling gypsy moths, a team in Huron Woods has been formed consisting of Jacqui Krech, Anne Thornton, Angela Arenberg and Paul Mennill.  Over the coming months, we will provide you with information and do our best to assist you and answer your questions.  Your input is also important. We care about the well-being of our neighbours and the beautiful trees that surround us.  Together we will try to find the best solution to deal with the gypsy moth infestation problems so we are prepared for spring 2021. If you have anyquestions or comments, please direct them to jacqui.krech@gmail.com.

Regards,

Gypsy Moth Outbreak Team

4 thoughts on “Gypsy Moth Outbreak Team

  1. Very informative post. Thanks to the team for keeping us informed and potentially planning action for 2021 .

  2. I’ve successfully used water, dish soap and garlic powder/salt to ask them to leave and it works on local areas. Certainly it will not fix the larger problem but it saved my garden and a few smaller trees where I had spraying reach.

  3. Lambton Shores has received information reports that will help community efforts this fall in preparation for spring spraying if needed. I support the effort by the HuronWoods community committee! Mayor Bill

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