GLT's Grow: Bugs To Beware

May 19, 2017

Behold: the caterpillar form of the gypsy moth.

The jumping worm and the gypsy moth are two pests you need to keep an eye out for -- they're bad news for plants and gardeners.

  • The jumping worm is just as creepy as its name implies. Normally, worms are great -- they aerate the soil, after all.  But this critter is not under the soil, but on it, munching on organic matter -- the very matter that provide nutrients to growing things.  Thus, this Greedy Gus can deprive plants, especially tender young ones, of vital nutrients.
  • This is an invasive species from Asia and is spreading rapidly through nursery stock.
  • You can stop this pest from spreading by not sharing plants or placing dead leaves at the curb for collecting.
  • The gypsy moth is another pest that gardeners need to beware. These tree caterpillars were brought to the U.S. in an attempt to establish a silk industry.  Well, that didn't work.  So now we're stuck with the voracious little critters.
  • They are a threat to maples, oaks and elms.  Yes, elms.  As if elms didn't have enough trouble with Dutch Elm Disease.
  • Shipments of nursery stock have spread this pest.
  • They grow through several stages of moulting and feed on leaves in their caterpillar state. Continuing attacks from this pest can weaken a tree and leave it vulnerable to other problems. 
  • Horticulture spray oil can help control populations.

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