In their caterpillar stage, an infestation can be hard to spot as they camouflage into tree bark and most of the feeding occurs at night. The caterpillars are dark and hairy. They have five blue dot pairs and six red dot pairs on their back. They are pretty big and can range from 2.5 -3cm in length during this time of the year.

The following burlap cloth method is recommended to help trap and reduce the population:

  1. Wrap a piece of burlap cloth around the stem/trunk of your tree(s).
  2. Tie a rope around the center of the burlap.
  3. Drape the burlap cloth over the rope so there is an overhang. The caterpillars will crawl underneath to seek shelter during the day.
  4. Every afternoon, lift the overhanging burlap and collect any hiding caterpillars.
  5. Put them into a bucket of soapy water for a few days to destroy them, then dispose of the contents. They can also be handpicked and crushed, however the long hairs of the caterpillar can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions, so be sure to wear gloves.

For more information about gypsy moths and how to help control their population, visit townofstmarys.com/GypsyMoth.