Sponge caterpillars wreak havoc in Quebec

The first discoveries of this invasive species in North America date back to 1869. It has since been found in the northeastern United States, in Ontario and southern Quebec, and has also been observed in the Capitale-Nationale region for several years. .

It was so far in a latent form, but due to many factors including the climate, there is an increase in population this year in Quebec, which makes the damage more visible., identifies Jerome Piccard, environmental consultant in Quebec City.

Quebec trees destroyed by gypsy moth caterpillars

Photo: Radio Canada/Marie Audrey Hall

greedy insect

They are mainly found in the neighborhoods of Sainte-Foy-Sillery-Cap-Rouge as well as Les Rivières. He is especially fond of oak leaves, but also attacks birch, poplars, elms, willows, etc.

For the short time the caterpillar eats, the amount often has an impressive visual impact. A healthy tree will be able to form a second leaf after that. The problem is when it recurs over time and weakens the tree Mr. Picard adds.

According to him, the Capitale-Nationale region has not reached a critical stage with respect to the spongy larva. Although high temperatures in recent months have contributed to this population increase, it indicates that climate change could also have a beneficial effect in the coming year.

Whoever says “climate change” says “extremist”. Extremely cold winters can also affect eggs and reduce the number of active spongy larvae next summer, He adds.

Possible solutions

Quebec City has implemented spraying operations in the past few days in an effort to limit damage to some trees. A proven method, according to Mr. Picard. Especially since the caterpillar has reached the stage of transformation into a butterfly. For natives who want to eradicate this invasive species from their trees at home, Mr. Picard recommends installing a burlap at the bottom of the trunk. The larva will feed during the night and come back down during the day to take shelter. Then all you have to do is remove the cloth, and soak it in soapy water to kill the bug. Gray tape around the tree is also an option to keep them from climbing the tree.

These two methods require one tree to enter after another. In the city, we’re in a mode of observation and testing, to see what works best to block the future. Once again, we must warn that it is possible that we will not have this problem next year.Concludes.

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