Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tent Caterpillar Egg Cases

The tree pruner came this week and did a nice job of the apple trees and pears and the Dolgo. He does the big trees which are standards and I do the smaller trees as I am now too old to climb high. About 8 to 10 percent of the 1 and 2 year growth on the apple trees have tent caterpillar egg cases this winter. I think we all knew an infestation was going to happen this coming year since the moths, Malacosoma, were extensive this fall on Lotus Island. We have yet to have a sharp frost which I am still hoping for, but rigorous pruning will get rid of the bulk of the egg cases and oil sprays will deal with some of them that are left as well, since they need to breathe. The pears are safe because the leaves have a harder finish. These caterpillars may be somewhat controlled on my apple trees, but the alders,birches,ocean spray,Rosa vulgaris and wild cherries are also loaded with egg cases and I can't prune the whole countryside, so in the end, we are going to have to rely on Mother Nature to interrupt the cycle with the Tachinid wasp. I have never tried BT but am going to do so this spring as I expect an inflorescence of worm, to follow the inflorescence of bloom, despite all these other measures. The trouble with spray is the worm appears in graduated stepwise larval stages over six weeks here, so multiple sprays are needed. Cost! The pruner is a nice guy but leaves his cuttings for me to pick up for shredding or burning. Thank goodness I've got Eddie who does the bending and hauling while I do the shredding and burn what I can't shred, on the beach. Shredding I am sure will destroy the egg cases when I compost the chips. Burning will certainly do it! One thing struck me as I wrote this and that is, Malus and Malacosoma: of course!

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