May 16, 2018 – Tent caterpillars are hatching and crawling their way back into the Municipal District of Bonnyville and neighbouring municipalities.
“I’ve had reports from around Muriel Lake and Moose Lake, in the Town of Bonnyville and in the City of Cold Lake,” said M.D. Assistant Ag Fieldman, Janice Boden. “We’re now into the fifth year of the cycle.”
The creepy crawlers aren’t harmful to humans or trees.
“Most trees can withstand defoliation,” Boden said. “The caterpillars will eat all of leaves. Most trees will see their leaves grow back later in the summer.”
She also said keeping your trees watered and fertilized will help keep them healthy.
What can you do to get these furry fiends to stop using your trees as their personal salad bar? There are a few solutions.
Local greenhouses and hardware stores carry BTK, a biological insecticide, which will kill the caterpillars, but will not harm dragonflies, bees, ladybugs, etc.
“Put an ice cream pail, with a couple of inches of water in it at the base of a tree, and the caterpillars will go in to get a drink and won’t be able to escape,” Boden also advises. “Or, in the morning or when it rains, they gather together. That’s a good time to gather them up, put them in a baggy and throw them in the garbage.”