What Every Homeowner Needs to Know About Their Aging Trees
Below are comments and observations concerning cankerworms in Charlotte North Carolina. If you want to go back to previous years comments, check the links in the left sidebar. If you want a recap of most of the useful information, or are new to the cankerworm problems, check out 2007/2008. (same as on the left sidebar)Some time later this season I plan to recap some of the observations about cankerworms that I have seen in recent years which are not on the 2007/2008 page. I have done some editing on that page and made the edited comments in red. I will make comments from 2014 in some other color. Some of the issues covered, will be: How long do they last?, exactly when do they hatch?, why are they so scattered now? Do the traps really work? How to tell the Spring Cankerworm from the Fall Cankerworm? Entries for 2014/ 2015 Season below, most recent are at the top.Message: On March 23, 2015 I made a computer mistake and had to rework this page from December 17 back to March 23rd. The data will be below, but I have not gone back and boldfaced and highlighted all the text ... might not get to it... to much to keep up with. jmm.
February 11, 2016 Friday (11 cw) Total = 740cwLooks like the cankerworms were glad to see a dry day and evening since we had a pretty good crop this morning when I counted them.
January 16, 2016 Saturday (8 cw) Total = 607cw
What this means is that using any material, figure out how it responds to heat. If it is likely to drip as the photo above shows place it much higher or the band. Some of these materials could harm the tree.
December 13, 2015 Sunday (0 cw) Total = 2 cw1. I was on Beverly Drive this morning, got out of the car and saw this clump of what I thought was cankerworms on the Tree Band First of all I do not like these white bands that the city is allowing the contractors to put up. They stick out like a sore thumb. Last year I complained but no action. I suspect they are cheaper than tar paper. The black color of the tar paper is much less conspicuous.
If YOU install a Bug Barrier trap, then you have to put the trap up correctly for them to work.
A pet peeve of mine is Cankerworm traps that are put up incorrectly. Bug Barrier is not my first choice, but it does work pretty well if put on correctly. The gray part of the sharpie measures 3 1/2 inches. The batting material is 3 inches wide and it is supposed to line up with the top of the film. I did not measure this trap but I think the sticky stuff is about one inch below the Sharpie and also the sticky stuff is about the same distance on the top. I got the three inch measurement from the web site and I always thought it was bout 2 inches. You are instructed to to put two layers of batting material one directly on top of the other. I believe they are one inch thick so that is a two inch total depth. If the film is a total of 6 inches wide then you would have 3 inches of sticky material below. From the example above they are lucky to have one inch that will trap cankerworms.
I count my insects daily during the season, and on one year had 5000 insects over the period that the insects were climbing. I did this with a tarpaper and Tanglefoot trap. At times I have seen insects overwhelm the Bug Barrier trap and crawl up the outside of the film and continue up the tree. A way around this would be to apply some Tanglefoot on the outside of the trap and catch those insects that are still on the way up the tree to lay their eggs. Of course this year, with no Tanglefoot you can not do that.
I guess my second objection to Buig Barrier is that by the time spring gets here the stickiness has disappeared. Dust and leaves will blow up under the trap and reduce its ability to catch insects.
Squirrels also like the plastic and tear the batting material to use it for their nest. I have seen traps with a saran type wrap around the top. That is good for two reasons. The wrap will “maybe” keep the squirrels away, and it will probably hold the top of the trap tighter to the tree.
There is the cost factor too. I still must admit that it will catch insects, and if it is a year when there are not many fall cankerworms, it will work. If you just started reading this check out the Duct Tape photo from 2007.
December 7, 2015 Monday total (1cw)Maybe this is the solution for not having enough Tanglefoot to band all the trees in the Charlotte area.. I probably get asked daily this season about where to get Tanglefoot or Bug Barrier. If there is any Tanglefoot around, I don’t know who has it for sale to the homeowner. Bug barrier is for sale by some wholesalers, but they will not sell it to the individual unless a business has a license and collects sales tax.
Greg Evangelist wrote the other day about his experiences and asked if the sticky side of packing tape would work and it immediately reminded me of one of my favorite photosMaybe the Duct Tape Trap will work. This photo (3rd below)was taken in the Spring about May 14, 2007 on Lilac Road in the Dilworth.. What might be an important difference is that these insects in the photo (Lilac Road Tulip poplar) are crawling back up the tree in the spring as mature cankerworms (Inch Worms).
The ones directly below are the wingless female making the trek that look like this in the Fall/Winter. Greatly enlarged in lower photos of wingless female.
In the spring the cankerworms emerge and are hunting for something to eat and this case this tree was already defoliated. What we are dealing with in the fall (early Winter December 7th) is that the female insect is crawling up the tree from summer rest, and is going up to lay eggs in the upper parts of the trees. I do not know if the fall female cankerworm will stick to the duct tape or not. The insect in the fall is not interested in eating, and is a pretty good walker. I suspect much faster than the insect in the spring that is a slow moving caterpillar...(remember inch worms from your youth). So for those of you who might try try this, please let me know if it works. email JackPhoto from Lilac Road in 2007. Duct Tape turned backwards.
November 24, 2015 TuesdayI got an email yesterday from Kimberly who lives on Mountain Island Lake. On December 16 of last year, I got a note from her that she had quite a few cankerworms trapped at her home which is outside of Charlotte and therefore probably a little cooler. Kimberly’s first sighting in 2014 was December 10, 2014. She was seeing cankerworms sooner than I was which was interesting. See Kimberly’s note 2014
April 1, 2015 Wednesday
March 11, 2015 Wednesday
Below this point you will find the information that I accidentally deleted. It is accurate in content but I have not placed
March 10, 2015Today, I got a message from the City Arborist that we should remove the bands on our trees that capture cankerworms. He stated that the fiery searcher beetle would climb the trees and eat the beetles. I was a little skeptical, but then I am not an entomologist. This beetle has another name and is called the caterpillar beetle. There are 40,000 different species Worldwide, and they are found all over the Earth. You wonâ€t see them often because they feed at night. I did a search later which is posted above with one of the many links.March 2, 2015
Note that there are some days where the captured cankerworms figure is 0. That is because I sometimes go out of town or even just forget. I am sure the numbers are not an exact count also because even though I mash each worm they are often covered with Tanglefoot. The sunny side of the tree heats up the Tanglefoot and the worms are incased in it. The end result is that there is some margin of error, but still pretty darn close total and I am comfortable with that.March 1, 2015 Sunday Morning Is rainy and cold with a little ice left over on bushes and trees. Cankerworms are done for the season. Add that to the 1221 for a total of 1222 for the season. Unless something comes up really strange, I will not post to this page again until I see evidence that the cankerworms have hatched. For those of you new here, the eggs are up in the trees and some on your traps. In the past, about the end of march the eggs will hatch into small green caterpillars. They are hungry and will start feeding immediately, On your trap you will likely discover some of them but they will starve and get stuck in the residual Tanglefoot. In the trees they will start feeding and soon will crawl down the bark or parachute down on silken threads. This is what the women in our lives love is when the worms get in their hair etc.
February 28, 2015 Saturday Morning Late yesterday while the air temp was 45 or so degrees I check my cankerworm trap and found one cankerworm. I will check again this morning, but for all practical purposes, the worms are finished their climb to lay eggs.February 26, 2015 Thursday Morning There has been no activity recently. We have had snow and ice a couple of times and there has been snow at the base of the trees. Once it thaws I will take one last look.February 19, 2015 Thursday Morning 2 cankerworms trapped total is 1221 The last three days have been cold and there has been no cankerworm activity. I am inclined to think they are over for the fall and winter.February 14, 2015 Saturday Morning 3 cankerworms trapped total is 1219February 13, 2015 Friday Morning 6 cankerworms trapped total is 1216February 12, 2015 Thursday Morning 19 cankerworms trapped total is 1210There are gaps in the daily counts mostly because I have been ill. I know the numbers of insects are slowing down and the numbers for the next several days should prove that.February 11, 2015 Wednesday Morning 39 cankerworms trapped total is 1191February 10, 2015 Tuesday Morning 00 cankerworms trapped total is 1152February 9, 2015 Monday Morning 00 cankerworms trapped total is 1152February 8, 2015 Sunday Morning 00 cankerworms trapped total is 1152February 7, 2015 Saturday Morning 00 cankerworms trapped total is 1152February 6, 2015 Friday Morning 48 cankerworms trapped total is 1152February 5, 2015 Thursday Morning 00 cankerworms trapped total is 1104February 4, 2015 Wednesday Morning 89 cankerworms trapped total is 1104February 3, 2015 Tuesday Morning 87 cankerworms trapped total is 1015February 2, 2015 Monday Morning 00 cankerworms trapped total is 928February 1, 2015 Sunday Morning 20 cankerworms trapped total is 928January 31, 2015 Saturday Morning 29 cankerworms trapped total is 908January 30, 2015 Friday Morning 30 cankerworms trapped total is 879January 29, 2015 Thursday Morning 89 cankerworms trapped total is 849January 28, 2015 Wednesday Morning 10 cankerworms trapped total is 760January 27, 2015 Tuesday Morning 89 cankerworms trapped total is 750
January 26, 2015 Monday Morning 85 cankerworms trapped total is 661January 26, 2015 Monday MorningThis message just came in from City Arborist Donald McSween.We are still counting traps to see what the Fall Cankerworm is doing. IĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ll send out the numbers once they arefinished climbing the trees. Here are the ten highest locations so far:Harrisburg Road (off Albemarle Rd)Purser Dr (off Eastway Dr)Dawnwood Dr. (off Idlewild Road near Harrisburg Rd)Ridgewood Dr. (off Selwyn Ave)Baylor Dr. (off South Boulevard past Woodlawn Road)Nottingham Drive (off Rama Road near Randolph Rd.)Hovis Road (off Brookshire Blvd)Bradford Drive (off Brookshire Boulevard)Tuckaseegee Road near Little Rock RoadBeaux Ave. (off Wilkinson Boulevard)Reminders: Take down your traps by the end of March to allow the Fiery Searcher Beetle access to the trees. Theselarge, metallic colored beetles are voracious caterpillar eaters. Thanks to Dr. Don Booth (Bartlett Labs) for sharing that informationwith us.Next year when you put up your traps, DO NOT put your TanglefootÂ© in the microwave to make it easier to spread.This breaks down the effectiveness of the product. Store it at room temperature and it will spread easily enoughDonald McSween Charlotte City ArboristJanuary 25, 2015 Sunday 14 cankerworms trapped total is 576January 24, 2015 Saturday 06 cankerworms trapped total is 562000Just trying to get a day ahead (entered Friday)January 23, 2015 Friday 14 cankerworms trapped total is 556January 22, 2015 Thursday 33 cankerworms trapped total is 542
January 21, 2015 Wednesday 21 cankerworms trapped total is 509
January 20, 2015 Tuesday 24 cankerworms trapped total is 488
January 19, 2015 Monday 36 cankerworms trapped total is 464Street Tree January 14, 2015 Wednesday 84 cankerworms trapped total is 1149I have come to the conclusion that there is a lot of variation as to the number of insects on a given tree. I do not recall what year I have seen such different numbers of insects trapped. I just got finished photographing three street trees all in a row. The one most separated from the other two had the fewest insects. There was a tulip poplar tree in between that tree and the next willow oak which had a fair number of insects. The third tree is the one that I have been counting daily (more or less, as I missed a day). Still the overall numbers indicate that there are almost 3 times as many insects on the street tree trap as there are on my trap in the back yard.I will discontinue counting the insects on the street tree traps on a daily basis. Itâ€s a little hard to keep the numbers straight, and I believe I have proven what I set out to do. Later in the season, I might make some random counts so I will have an overall view for the year from the street tree to compare with the single tree in my back yard.The second thing you will see from the photographs is that where the Tanglefoot is on thick, insects are trapped. Where the Tanglefoot is thin, there are much fewer insects, and I expect that several if not many have made it through the thin application of Tanglefoot. Photos here.Â Â Â January 18, 2015 Sunday 37 cankerworms trapped total is 428Street Tree January 14, 2015 Sunday 00 cankerworms trapped total is 1065Â January 17, 2015 Saturday 0 cankerworms trapped total is 354Street Tree January 17, 2015 Saturday 103 cankerworms trapped total is 1065
January 16, 2015 Friday 1 cankerworms trapped total is 354Street Tree January 16, 2015 Friday 102 cankerworms trapped total is 962Â January 15, 2015 Thursday 1 cankerworms trapped total is 353Street Tree January 15, 2015 Thursday 15 cankerworms trapped total is 860
January 14, 2015 Wednesday 5 cankerworms trapped total is 352Street Tree January 14, 2015 Wednesday 13 cankerworms trapped total is 845Â January 13, 2015 Tuesday 11 cankerworms trapped total is 347Street Tree January 13, 2015 Tuesday 39 cankerworms trapped total is 832January 12, 2015 Monday 160 cankerworms trapped total is 336Street Tree January 12, 2015 Monday 245 cankerworms trapped total is 793No these numbers are not incorrect. We had several very wet days with off and on rain. We also had some very cold days and the worms were lined up just waiting for the proper weather to advance up the trees.
January 11, 2015 Sunday 0 cankerworms trapped total is 176Street Tree January 11, 2015 Sunday 8 cankerworms trapped total is 548
January 10, 2015 Saturday 34 cankerworms trapped total is 176Street Tree January 10, 2015 Saturday 19 cankerworms trapped total is 540
January 9, 2015 Friday 0 cankerworms trapped total is 142Street Tree January 9, 2015 Friday 13 cankerworms trapped total is 521January 8, 2015 Thursday 00 cankerworms trapped total is 142Street Tree January 8, 2015 Thursday 12 cankerworms trapped total is 508Very cold last night. The temperature dropped to 12 degrees and never got but just a little above freezing during the day. There was lots of wind yesterday and last night but little today.January 7, 2015 Wednesday 37 cankerworms trapped total is 142Street Tree January 7, 2015 Wednesday 87 cankerworms trapped total is 496January 6, 2015 Tuesday 34 cankerworms trapped total is 105Street Tree January 6, 2015 Tuesday 86 cankerworms trapped total is 409Usually I count cankerworms before noon, partly because I walk my dog (Bear) and I am outside and dressed for the weather. Today I was pretty late, in fact it was about 7:30 PM when I got around to counting. Over the years a lot of people have made comments about how strange it was for someone to be out in the yard counting bugs every day. So when I left the house after dark and told my wife what I was going to do, I thought, but didnâ€t tell her that if I was not back in 30 minutes that she should call the Mecklenburg County Jail. At the least I thought I might get a few car horn honks.
Well, the police did not see me and no one honked, but there is no telling how many drivers wondered what I was doing. I live on a heavily traveled street and the going-home traffic is intense. So that is the reason for such a large numbers of cankerworms today. I suspect a lot of today’s insects came up during the day.January 5, 2015 Monday 4 cankerworms trapped total is 71Street Tree January 5, 2015 Monday 28 cankerworms trapped total is 323
I have been keeping records daily but have just now posted the results since the first of January. Too much holidays and Flu in the family but so far I have no symptoms
I find it interesting to note the great difference in what my tree is capturing as opposed to the street tree at the yard next door. That is 4 plus times as many. Here are some observations:
Many street trees that I see have very few insects trapped, Several have fairly large numbers of insects trapped. The tree in my back yard is some distance from other willow oaks, and I have been banding this tree for several years. Am I reducing the number of insects getting back down to the ground and resting until the fall migration? The street tree which is also a willow oak is surrounded by other willow oaks both on the street and at the residence. There is a much greater chance of a heavy infestation in the spring from four or more trees than there is from my stand alone tree.This brings up an interesting observation. Many observers of the cankerworm problem in other parts of the country are saying that they see no benefit from banding. I have thought that incorrect for many years and what is happening now tends to prove my theory. I have photos from the past that show the differences in canopy infestation.It is important that the bands be put up properly, and that the correct amount of Tanglefoot or other trapping medium is applied. Leaves and other debris needs to be cleared from the trap so the insects do not create a bridge across the Tanglefoot. Lastly, see the examples of two traps put up on the same street (QRW) and notice the difference in the amount of Tanglefoot applied. I actually mashed several insects the other day that had gotten past the Tanglefoot. Picture below show trap with pretty thin coating of Tanglefoot on parts of the trap.(will load photos later) Jan 5 2015January 4, 2015 Sunday 0 cankerworms trapped total is 67Street Tree January 4, 2015 Sunday 30 cankerworms trapped total is 295
January 3, 2015 Saturday 0 cankerworms trapped total is 67Street Tree January 3, 2015 Saturday 0 cankerworms trapped total is 265January 2, 2015 Friday 1 cankerworms trapped total is 67Street Tree January 2, 2015 Friday 60 cankerworms trapped total is 265January 1, 2015 Thursday 36 cankerworms trapped total is 66Street Tree January 1, 2015 Thursday 37 cankerworms trapped total is 205
December 31, 2014 Wednesday 0 cankerworms trapped total is 30Street Tree December 31, 2014 Wednesday 45 cankerworms trapped total is 168December 30, 2014 Tuesday 0 cankerworms trapped total is 30Street Tree December 30, 2014 Tuesday 45 cankerworms trapped total is 168In general the female cankerworms donâ€t crawl too much in the rain. It has been pretty wet the past few days, and we are to have some cold weather soon.Â I am finding some trees have lots of cankerworms in the traps and some trees hardly any. My own tree and the street tree I have been checking are a good difference in the contrast.Â December 29, 2014 Monday 7 cankerworms trapped total is 30Street Tree December 29, 2014 Monday 51 cankerworms trapped total is 123December 28, 2014 Sunday 7 cankerworms trapped total is 23Street Tree December 28, 2014 Sunday 51 cankerworms trapped total is 72
I have one large willow oak in the back yard which is where I am counting cankerworms daily. So far it has been very slow going and most of the trees I pass while walking my dog Bear do not have many cankerworms on them. There is one major exception on a street tree (willow oak) that is near my home. Yesterday I mashed all the collected cankerworms so I could get a good count today. That tree had 51 cankerworms in the trap just since yesterday. The difference might be that there are several other willow oaks nearby and potentially more insects in the ground developing from last spring. About 40 years ago, in my yard at one time I had 8 big willow oaks. Only one is left and the closest willow oak to it is 100 or so feet away.One of the things that used to amaze me in years past was that the tree where I set my trap always seemed to have a massive number of insects on the trap during the season. One would think that since I set the trap in the same tree very year there should be fewer insects. Maybe now that I have the single willow oak in the back yard and it stands alone, the numbers will drop. I have placed the cankerworm trap in the willow oak in the back yard for the two previous years and this is the third.
I believe I will start keeping a running total on the street tree out front. The numbers will be a little off and I will start with the first total I counted which was 21 (one days ago) which would have been a cumulative total. Here is how I will post it:Street Tree December 27, 2014 Saturday 21 cankerworms trapped total is 21December 27, 2014 Saturday 4 cankerworms trapped total is 16December 26, 2014 Friday 4 cankerworms trapped total is 12I missed Christmas day so some of these 4 might have been caught on December 25th. I see more insects in the city traps, but just on certain trees. I have found a tree and will count the total I expect it will be double that I have on my trap.December 25, 2014 Thursday 0 cankerworms trapped total is 8December 24, 2014 Wednesday 0 cankerworms trapped total is 8With all the cool weather, the soil temperature is cooling down and the rain usually slows the emergence of the female cankerworms. Maybe after the rain gets past, the worms will start moving.December 22, 2014 Monday 1 cankerworms trapped total is 8Now that the cankerworm infestations have spread over a greater territory, it is obvious that they do not come out at exactly the same time. There are differences in temperatures. We discuss this in a degree days for many insects like the boxwood leaf miner which takes approximately 250 degree days before it emerges..
In the cankerworm case it seems to be a certain number of days that the temperature has to fall below a certain level in the ground. This is why we have stated for years that it takes two or three days of a hard freeze to bring them out.
I got a report from Mint Hill today where a total of 155 insects have been captured on 8 or 9 oaks. I have had 8 on one tree so not sure how that equates. I have also seen some activity on some street trees also. Definitely, the worms are starting to move. We are a little later than last year.December 21, 2014 Sunday 2 cankerworms trapped total is 7
Cankerworm activity typically starts off slow. Last year around Christmas I had 52 cankerworms in my trap and those were at the rate of two or three a day up to that point. Last year when I had 52 cankerworms by Christmas I trapped 23 of those on December 24th. It certainly is not too late to prepare your traps.December 17, 2014 Wednesday 0 cankerworms trapped total is 5I also am not seeing much or any activity on street trees banded by the city. .. Also BTW I have reverted back to the smaller text as I think enlarging the text was causing some problems with the software.
See Year 2014 for activity up to this time.
The photo to the left is of Duct Tape turned backwards. The photo was taken in the spring after the cankerwroms hatched.
Lilac Road 2007