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Controlling Tent Caterpillars and Gypsy Moths in Winter

Start this year’s garden pest control with a stroll through the landscape.

And as you walk be sure to look for any unwelcome pests that may be overwintering on the twigs of trees and shrubs.  Look for egg masses of the Eastern and forest tent caterpillar.  These remind me of small shiny blobs of mud surrounding the stems of crabapples, plums, cherries and other susceptible plants.  Prune off infested branches and destroy egg masses as found.

The hairy egg masses of gypsy and tussock moths are often hidden in the deep furrows and bark crevices on the trunks of trees.  Gently scrape the egg masses off the tree and destroy or through in the garbage.  Do not leave them on the ground where they can hatch and infest the trees.  

Egg masses contain hundreds in some cases thousands of eggs.  A little time spent controlling these pests now can save you lots of time and reduce insect damage to your trees.

A bit more information:  You can also use one of the organic horticulture oil products, such as soy oil, that can be used to kill the egg masses.  Just carry a small spray bottle near your body to keep the mixture warm as you survey your landscape.  Read and follow all label directions carefully.  And wear gloves when removing egg masses.  Some people are allergic to the gypsy and tussock moth hairs. 

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