The KPRC Radio Gardenline Tip By Randy Lemmon For 07-01-04 Printer-Friendly Version
Fall Web Worms Hitting Early This Year
Howdy Gardening Enthusiasts!
Itís that time of the year when I get a lot of calls regarding webs and web worms in trees. The Fall Web Worm is the caterpillar that creates a silky web in the tree, deadening the leaves as it spins itís protective coating. The best way to control the Fall Web Worm is to treat the tree in advance of visible damage. This can be done by treating the leaves with a biological control known as B.T. (Bascillius Thuringiensis). The B.T. needs to be applied once every two weeks at least one month before the normal infestation occurs. Once you see the first tell-tell sign of the worms, rake out the webs and treat the tree with a contact insecticide like Malathion.
The problem for most people is that the first tell-tell signs are way too high in the tree for an average person to treat. Which leads to the third, and apparently cavalier answer (at least thatís what one listener wrote to tell me) and thatís to leave it alone. Thatís right! LEAVE IT ALONE, because itís not life-threatening. At their very worst, Fall Web Worms are unsightly. The ability of trees to survive difficult conditions is amazing. While the fall web worm appears to be doing tremendous damage, I can assure you the damage is minimal to the life support system of the tree. And since this is the start of the end of the growing season, the leaves have completed the greatest part of their work; that is, the production of food to sustain the growth of the tree. Control is either in advance with an organic/biological control known as B.T. or once you see damage with physical removal and contact insecticides. Or you can take my word, and donít hit the panic button. Just go to this hyperlink below to see the Fall Web Worm and its damage in living color.
< http://www.umassgreeninfo.org/fact_sheets/defoliators/fall_webworm.html >
By the way, some people mistakenly call the Fall Web Worm ďBag Worms.Ē To see what Bag Worms look like, go to this site.
< http://www.umassgreeninfo.org/fact_sheets/defoliators/bagworm.html >
Until next issue, here's to
Great Gardening from the GardenLine, heard
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