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City of Mississauga Parks and Forestry - Pest & Disease Management

Gypsy Moth - Integrated Pest Management

What is Integrated Pest Management?
To help manage future populations, the City is using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) measures. IPM is a sustainable approach to managing pests by combining biological, cultural, physical, and chemical tools in a way that minimizes economic, health, and environmental risks.

The IPM approach uses knowledge of pest, plant, and environmental conditions to select the best combination of management strategies. Recognizing the extraordinary adaptability of insects, IPM does not attempt to eradicate a particular pest entirely. Rather it is aimed at keeping pest populations below the threshold level at which they can cause significant economic loss.

The City uses IPM controls because of the emphasis on prevention and considering all available options and information before deciding how to manage a pest problem. IPM controls typically rely on effective, alternative approaches to pesticides and chemicals.

Doing your part to contain the outbreak? Doing your part to contain the outbreak?
Residents are encouraged to manage Gypsy Moth populations on private property by implementing the following Integrated Pest Management controls that have proven to be effective in the control of Gypsy Moth:
  • picking caterpillars off foliage and soaking them in soapy water to destroy them
  • placing sticky bands on tree trunks
  • installing burlap wraps around tree trunks and then collecting and destroying the caterpillars
  • using pheromone traps to capture and confuse male moths
  • scraping off and destroying egg masses
  • leaving wooded habitat around trees, shrubs and garden plants to encourage predators
  • watering trees

Please contact your local nursery or garden supply store for availability of materials and products listed above.

Destroying Egg Masses

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a sustainable approach to managing pests by combining biological, cultural, physical, and chemical tools in a way that minimizes economic, health, and environmental risks.

As the masses are easiest to see when the leaves are off the trees, a fall search followed by a spring inspection is recommended. Search the area by walking slowly in a grid pattern and stopping to inspect any surface that might contain an egg mass. Gypsy Moths lay their egg masses in just about any sheltered location including under tree and shrub branches, the underside of patio furniture or on rocks, firewood, fences and tree trunks. The egg masses may be located at either high or low levels and include structures such as windowsills, light fixtures and mail boxes.

To destroy the egg masses, carefully scrape the whole egg mass into a container of soapy water (1 tsp. of detergent per litre of water) and allow them to soak before discarding. Scraping the eggs onto the ground and leaving them will not prevent the eggs from hatching.

Burlap Banding

Burlap bands or skirts placed around the trunk of a tree provide a convenient sheltered resting spot for Gypsy Moth caterpillars during the day. As the burlap bands do not trap or injure the caterpillars, you must check under the bands or skirts regularly, daily is ideal, and physically remove the caterpillars and destroy them by either crushing them or dropping them into a container of soapy water (1 tsp. of detergent per litre of water) and allowing them to soak before discarding.

To form a burlap skirt, cut a piece of burlap long enough to wrap around the tree and anywhere from 30 to 60 cm wide. Using a piece of rope, tie the burlap around the tree at shoulder height. Fold the upper half of the burlap over the lower half and let it hang. Be sure there is some looseness in the burlap to allow the caterpillars to crawl underneath and to permit you to easily remove the insects. Burlap banding your trees in early to mid-June is recommended. Experience has shown that leaving the burlap bands on until September is beneficial and you may find numerous egg masses under the burlap that can easily be removed and destroyed.

Sticky Band Barriers

Sticky barrier bands, consisting of commercially available double-sided sticky tapes, or sticky material such as Tanglefoot, petroleum jelly, or grease, prevent Gypsy Moth larva from crawling up the trunks of susceptible host trees. These products should be applied to the surface of an impermeable material, such as duct tape or tar paper, and not applied directly to the bark. Petroleum-based products can cause injury (swelling and cankering) on thin-barked trees. The sticky bands do not need to be wider than a few centimetres and should be monitored weekly to ensure they are continuing to form an effective barrier.

Pheromones (sex hormones)

Hanging pheromone scents or traps from trees can be used to attract male moths and act as decoys preventing male moths from mating with female moths. Application rates are between 2-4 traps per acre depending on the lay of the land. More traps may be required on land which has dense vegetation and plant growth, while in large open areas, less traps will prove effective.

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