Gypsy moths, at least the caterpillars that morph into the moths, have defoliated many deciduous trees in Eastern Ontario. The trees at our cottage on Palmerston Lake in Ompah, Ontario have not been spared.
First, we noticed lots (more than usual) of these brown moths flying around our property…
Curious, I googled them to see if they could be responsible for the defoliation of our trees. Sure enough, the brown moths pictured above are the male gypsy moths.
The males fly around looking for the white, non-flying female versions to impregnate. The females crawl on the ground, attracting the males with a sex hormone, after which the females crawl onto a tree trunk or any other vertical surface (including our garage wall) to lay their eggs.
The eggs are enclosed in an oval-shaped, soft sac. Once the eggs hatch, the caterpillars crawl further up the trees to continue the destructive cycle.
Once we discovered what they were, my hubby went around the property scraping (the ones he could reach) the egg sacs off, letting the eggs fall to the ground for the birds and other insects to enjoy.
Perhaps we are tampering with nature, but the damage these caterpillars inflict on our trees is incredible.
Here’s hoping the trees will recover!