The other day I was happily admiring my blossoming fruits trees when to my horror I found a web trembling full of caterpillars! Who were these fruit tree caterpillars all over my apple tree???!!! They were the dreaded tent caterpillars!
This picture makes the web look massive…really it was about the size of a golf ball. But really how many were there? Must have been over a hundred! So what did I do? I had two options:
- Prune out the infestation – My tree is young and only has one branch for each type of apple so I decided this was not the right option for me. If my tree was larger with many established branches I would have pruned out the infestation. After pruning out the infestation I would have burned or drowned the buggers. Sorry it has to be done or they will just return! If you drown them make sure the remains go into your compost bin that goes to the city.
- Spray them with BT– Bacillus Thuringiensis. The name sounds serious and deadly, it is to the caterpillars but it is a certified product to use in Organic agriculture use. It does not harm beneficial insects but is deadly to worms (not earthworms) and caterpillars. They eat a leave sprayed with it and it causes them to stop eating and then died from malnourishment. Safer Brand has a concentrate that is makes that I recommend. You will find other uses for this spray such as for the caterpillars that try to eat all your broccoli and cabbage! I applied the mixture to my tree with a garden sprayer like this. A couple days later I checked out the tree and the caterpillars were no more…this what it looks like now. I could pick off the webbing but I will just let the tree grow out of it.
What kind of fruit tree infestations have you battled?
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