What Every Homeowner Needs to Know About Their Aging Trees

Where did all the Cankerworms go in the spring of 2019


 Cankerworm Page

    Cankerworms 2016

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 =  740cw
    Looks 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.

  • February  10, 2016 Thursday (0 cw) Total =  729cw
    We had a couple of rainy and wet days, and the cankerworms don’t move very much on those days.  All in all, they are really slowing down and I expect them to slow down to several to one or two a day over the next week or so.  Last year the cankerworms kept coming until the last of February, but they had really slowed down.  The total count was 1222 female cankerworms for the entire 2014/2015 season, so I suspect we will be down this year.  This is the third year I have been tracking the cankerworms on the large willow oak in my back yard.  The previous tree was in my front yard and it was removed after getting Anonotus dryaedeus. 
  • February 9, 2016 Wednesday (0 cw) Total =  729cw
  • February 8, 2016 Tuesday (8 cw) Total =  729cw
  • February 7, 2016 Monday (9 cw) Total =  721cw
  • February 6, 2016 Sunday (8 cw) Total =  712cw
  • February 5, 2016 Saturday (21 cw) Total =  704cw
  • January 29, 2016 Friday (16 cw) Total =  683cw
  • January 22, 2016 Friday (0 cw) Total =  667cw
  • Interesting day ahead.  Snowed overnight with 3 inches of snow in some places in my yard. Drive and sidwalks less.  It will be below freezing all day and presently is sleeting and is supposed to rain (and ice) later.  I think we are in for a very serious ice storm.  I am saying that based on being the the tree maintenance business for 42 years and watched this type of storm develop.
  • January 21, 2016 Thursday (2 cw) Total =  667cw
  • January 20, 2016 Wednesday (8 cw) Total =  665cw
  • January 19, 2016 Tuesday (2 cw) Total =  657cw
  • January 18, 2016 Monday (00 cw) Total =  655cw
  • January 17, 2016 Sunday (48 cw) Total =  655cw

  • Fairly cold highs about 45 during day, windy, even a little bit of wet snow.
  • January 16, 2016 Saturday (8 cw) Total =  607cw

  • January 15, 2016 Friday (37 cw) Total =  599cw
    Got out before the rain this morning and found 37 new female cankerworms.  They are slowing down it seems.  Also I suppose you have noticed that they come up first on the sunny side of the tree and then later more appear on alternative sides.  We are beginning to see a tapering off.  My guess is that early February they will stop.
  • January 14, 2016 Thursday(22 cw) Total =  562cw
    I had miss a day and counted the 14th and 15th together.  There were a total of 44 cankerworms, so I divided by two and came up with 22.  Sometimes things happen and personal stuff gets in the way of counting cankerworms, so this is how I handle it.  My goal is to keep a running total and let people know when they start and stop, etc.

  • January 13, 2016 Wednesday(22 cw) Total =  540cw

    January 12, 2016 Tuesday(1 cw) Total =  518cw
  • This is the first time this year (2015) we have trapped above 500 female cankerworms. As a point of reference last year in early 2015, we hit the 500 mark on January 21, 2015 Wednesday 21 cankerworms trapped total is 509.   So what does it mean?  We have other people in the area who report cankerworm movement sooner than I do, and I suspect that is because the city is generally a few degrees warmer than the county.
  • December 5th through the 10th were a pretty good starting dates, so we have fewer numbers this season as compared to last.  I thought last year was a little worse than the year before and this year is a little less than the last year. 
  • January 23, 2013 broke 500 mark with 501.
    January 11, 2014 passed 500 mark with frozen ground preceding the 11th ...596 total. January 21, 2015 passed 500 mark with total of 509.
  • January 11, 2016 Monday (19 cw) Total =  517cw
  • This is the first day that I have counted my worms after installing another 4 inches of so of plastic wrap.  It certainly is easier to see the insects.  Mostly because the debris that was blown up on the trip with a leaf blower.
    I will show the renovated trap in a few photos later.
  • January 10, 2016 Sunday (8  cw) Total =  498cw

  • January 7, 2016 Saturday (  13  cw) Total = 490 cw
  • January 8, 2016 Friday (23  cw) Total = 477 cw
  • |
    January 7, 2016 Thursday (56  cw) Total = 454 cw
  • I have been doing a little bit of experimenting.  Duct tape comes with different types of glue.  The first duct tape I tried could not handle the cold and dried out.  The second  batch was better and even though there are not lots of cankerworms trapped, note that at this point they are all captured before getting to the tanglefoot.
  • cw duct tape & tanglefoot 2016 
  • This trap went through about ten inches of rain over the last several weeks. Duct tape is not the best choice, but it will trap some insects.  I refer you to my all time favorite photo about cankerworms.

  • cw_trap_lilac_2629_web300
  • The second criteria I look for  is how far the cws move up through whatever glue is on the trap.  The things that mess up the glue are leaves, falling, and those blown up by leaf blowers, other debris blown on the trap by leaf blowers,  deterioration of the glue by soaking into the tarpaper or other material.  Over the approximate six months the glue is on the trap, it also gets clogged with debris, and also tends to dry up.
  • In particular, what I have seen of CatchMaster bothers me.  Besides what I have already mentioned in other post, I think lots of insects get past the trap.  I calculated that 10 to 20 percent of the worms get past the trap.  If 1000 insects climb the tree, and just 10 percent get past the trap, that's 20,000 eggs laid.  20,000 cankerworms munching away on the tender buds and leaves can do some serious damage. 
  • Note the insects that can be seen on the inside of the Bug Barrier Trap. They have walked over the CatchMaster trap.
  • cw behind bb 815

  • January 6, 2016 Wednesday ( 27 cw) Total = 398 cw
    Most important news today is that Blackhawk Hardware has gotten a shipment of  TREEKOTE TREEBANDING GUM.  They have it in two sizes a 15 oz container for $15.99 and a 8 lb tub $89.99.
  • Now what you need to do is read about the Red N Tacky that we have described below.  Cathy Hasty sent me a note and said the cost comparision is REd & Tacky is $4.98 for 14 oz compared to $15.99 for 15 oz of Treekote.  I will check on the cost of a tub.
  • January 5, 2016 Tuesday  ( 29 cw) Total =  cw 371
    Not too surprising, but the worms have slowed down because such a burst came out on January 2nd after all the rain and wet.
  • January 4, 2016 Monday ( 38 cw) Total = 342 cw
  • Today the air temperature was right at 32 and tomorrow it is supposed to be in the low 20’s.  Copied below is an interesting email from Jeff Peppard
  • After weeks of warm weather and rain, tonight the critters are going nuts. It's New Years Day evening and My willow oak is Infested!  I'm not joking when I say I think there were maybe 1000 females and the male moths were going nuts too.  Now... I am only protecting two trees, but want you to know this.  The Red  n  Tacky  grease held up to all our rain with no leaking or dripping.  When I saw how many were trying to get up the tree tonight around 8 pm   I got a bag of Sevin dust and powdered the base of the oak.  It stopped them dead in their tracks.  I read somewhere that Sevin only works when ingested.  This stuff is knocking them out before they can attempt to climb.  I feel good about this years war ... 

    Jeff Peppard
  • January 3, 2016 Sunday ( 91 cw) Total = 304 cw
  • Not too surprising that the cankerworms were stacked up waiting for some drier and colder weather to emerge from the ground.  Air temperature was around 38 to 40 degrees in the early morning.
  • January 2, 2016 Saturday ( 102 cw) Total = 213 cw
    Since it my thermometer registered 38 degrees this morning at 8:00 AM, I took a quick look at my trap.  The trunk is dry for the first time in about 3 weeks, it is relatively cold, and there are TONS of female cankerworms either ready to climb up on the Tanglefoot or already in it.  I will count later today.  Why?  Because I have other things to do than count cankerworms as some of you might think.  Also it is a little muddy at the base of the tree and I have an early appointment.

    11:00 January 2, 2016... I have now counted the female cankerworms at 102 trapped.  I could have added more and well exceed the 111 that I had captured up to this time had I chosen to mash many of the insects crawling up the trunk.  I had an interesting letter from Jeff Preppard that I will post tomorrow morning.
  • January 1, 2016 Friday ( 18 cw) Total = 111 cw
  • It has been so wet I have not counted cankerworms for three days.  I always catch them just as they are entering the Tanglefoot.  They rarely get up into it and I try to get them early in the morning by 9:30 AM.
  • December 29, 2015 Tuesday ( 14 cw) Total = 103 cw
    Warm weather will make any of the substance run that we use as a glue to trap cankerworms, however, there are some that are better than others.  Below is the CatchMaster on a city tree.  I saw numerous trees where  one can see the sticky material running badly on the trunk. There is the potential that it will harm the tree, but I do not know that for sure.  Since CatchMaster is readily absorbed by the white trap, I would think it would be absorbed into the tree trunk.

    Tanglefoot is the best choice In My Opinion, but it probably is not available and will not be until next year.  What sounds most promising is the Red N Tacky wheel bearing Grease.
      This grease is water resistant and heat tolerant to a certain degree.
    There are other greases out there that all have different properties.
    If you use something else and like it (or not), let me know.

    We do know that Bug Barrier works pretty well and the glue in it does not run.  The glue is thin and gets covered by dust and debris to a greater extent than other traps with thicker glue. Biggest problems with Bug Barrier is that is often put up wrong, the sticky material dries out, and a heavy infestation will overwhelm the trap.

  • Catch Master running down trunk
    catchmaster running down

    December 28, 2015 Monday (4 cw) Total = 89 cw 
    I have come to the the early conclusion that the CatchMaster sticky stuff the city is using on the city trees does not work very well.  Look at the photo below, and you will notice that there are insects scattered up throughout the CatchMaster.  Tanglefoot on the other hand stops the cankerworms when they first get into it  The female cankerworms move up past the band only after the tree gets plastered by leaves and the leaves form bridges for the cankerworms to crawl over and up the tree to lay their eggs.  Also in both cases if the sticky material is placed in too thin a band, it looses it’s stickiness and the cankerworms crawl on.

    catchmaster 25p

    The band below which was installed  by a homeowner and is not a very neat job, but it still works..  It does show very well how the cankerworms are stopped by the Tanglefoot.  Even where it was applied very thin, the insects are trapped in the Tanglefoot..

  • tanglefoot 25%
  • December 27, 2015 Sunday (14 cw) Total = 88 cw
  • Today there were 14 cankerworms which surprised me a little because it is boggy wet.  Just walking in the back yard grass, it feels like a sponge.  I should point out that in 2006 December I captured a total of 1987 female cankerworm insects.  In January I captured 3901 insects.  The total for that year was 5941. There were days when the individual count would be 350 cankerworms in a single day.

    December 26, 2015 Thursday (8 cw) Total = 74 cw
  • Captured 8 cankerworms today.  It has been very wet and warm.  One it dries up and also gets colder we should see more movement.
  • Merry Christmas
    I took some interesting photos today as I walked my dog and observed mostly City Trees and how their cankerworm bands were working.  Come back later

    In case you did come back, it has been almost constant rain.... next posting is on 12-26-2015.
  • December 24, 2015 Thursday ( 3w) Total = 66 cw  plus
  • It has been awfully wet the past few days, and I did find 3 very wet female cankerworms.
    Directly below is from the Home Page today. December 24, 2015

    Today was very interesting.  I passed a couple of houses that had street trees banded with the white bands and the Vaseline like stuff that seems to be absorbed pretty readily into the white band.  What was noticeably different here is that on two trees there were some Bug Barrier traps place directly above the city traps.  I am sure the thought being that if an insects crawled over the CatchMaster material, the Bug Barrier would catch them. What the owner probably did not realize was that I would come along and count the insects in both traps.
  • What I found was that on the first band with CatchMast there were 10 female cankerworms, and in the bug barrier above it, there were 71 .females captured.  The second tree had 34 cankerworms caught in the CatchMaster and 132 in the Bug Barrier. More about this later..

  • December 21, 2015 Monday   an addition: 
  • I think the biggest problem with our cankerworm traps are the Leaf Blowers.  Today they were out en mass 3 landscapers all with blowers going wide open.  I have to wear Ear Muffs when I walk the dog.  But now that the leaves are down, and the blowers going you can count on leaves all over the traps.  I think the leaves stayed on the trees a little longer this season.  If you have put up traps then you should caution these yard crews about getting leaves on your traps.
  • December 21, 2015 Monday (32 cw) Total = 63 cw
  • Continued from the Home Page ...Red n Tacky Wheel Bearing Grease is something I would use for my boat trailer, and it is designed to shed water and not run.  From observations, heat can really mess up a cankerworm trap.  On one of these warm winter days if the sun hits your tree trunk even Tanglefoot will melt.  I have observed this many times.  It is wise to keep whatever sticky material you  put on the trunk an inch or more above the bottom of the trap.  Jeff dropped me a note this afternoon and said he caught 100s last night and that many got their feet stuck in the Grease and fell to the ground.  You can get Red n Tacky at Grainger, Walmart, Harbor Freight, and many other locations.  Seems the price is reasonable too.

    As I have said before,  if you want to not waste material, put on a narrow band about 2 inches wide an inch or so above the bottom of the trap (reduce running).  See how it goes... if you have lots of worms make the band larger.   BTW  duct tape is sticky at least in the winter.  Do not use it.
  • December 20, 2015 Sunday (14 cw) Total = 31 cw
    I looked at several city traps today and they are catching cankerworms as well as lots of other small insects and house flies. As mentioned before, the glue used on the trap is called Catchmaster and has a phermone in it to attract insects specifically pantry moths.  It obviously brings flies to it because most every tree I see has a fly or two or 20.  It does not appear that water hurts it too badly, but it does run.
  • Follow the arrow.  (the leaves)
    cw cmaster running glue
  • 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 19, 2015 Saturday (8 cw) Total = 17 cw
  • Looks like the below freezing nights have brought the worms out.  My population has jumped from 1 or so a day to 8 today.  I expect more today.  I have been getting some interesting comments from folks about what alternatives work and don’t work as far as substitutes for Tanglefoot.  (I will post that as I have time and as I hear from people who have tried various things from Vaseline Petroleum Jelly to Axle Grease.)  Am always glad to hear from others on this subject.
  • December 18, 2015 Friday (1 cw) Total = 9 cw
    One cankerworm here, and not very many on street trees.  I looked at two street trees, and there was almost no activity..I think that tonight it is going to go down to the low 20’s and that might bring the cankerworms out in force. I also am skeptical if the CatchMaster glue on the city trees will work.  We had heavy rain Thursday or was that Wednesday.  Seems like we have had a lot recently.  I heard the weather report the other eveing talk about the 1 inch or so around Charlotte.  My rain guage measured 3 inches.
  • December 16, 2015 Wednesday (1 cw) Total = 8 cw
  • You have probably seen that a white glue is on the tree bands.  I found that the city is testing this product which is called CatchMaster.  It is a pheromone impregnated glue that is typically used to control pantry moths and other indoor pest.  One of the products is glue trap for catching mice. In bulk it is available by the gallon.  This is supposed to be the link but it might not work. Goggle  catchmaster which is what I did.
  • http://www.zoro.com/catchmaster-rodent-trap-glue-1-gallon-bg-1/i/G3279245/?gclid=Cj0KEQiAtMSzBRDs7fvDosLZmpoBEiQADzG1vOBMjwZF5VONAC39VFCvkgwv-jYXgPt8yInoixEbA1AaAsKf8P8HAQ&gclsrc=aw.ds

  • On the web site, I found that it said it does not do well under 50 degrees F. or outside.  I suspect rain and cold will affect the effectiveness.  
  • December 15, 2015 Tuesday (4 cw) Total = 7 cw
    I have some smaller willow oaks and have put duct tape on backwards.  I want to see if that captures cankerworms. See Lilac Rd Photo    Last year I had some cankerworm activity on these trees so I might even put a band with Tanglefoot on top to see if insects get past the duct tape.
  • December 14, 2015 Monday (1 cw) Total = 3 cw
    There was one cankerworm on my trap this morning.  I looked at a city tree with trap and found 17 insects on it. Logically, I am capturing cankerworms every year from the same tree, one would think that over time I would have fewer cankerworms.  One of the differences is that over the years there are not many willow oaks next to my lone large willow oak.  Over the years I have lost many larger trees all due to more of less natural causes.  When we moved in which was in 1975 we had 8 major trees, all willow oaks.  Part of the way the way cankerworms move from one tree to another is when they hang from their silken threads they often blow some distance which means that if I have a neighbor who has a tree loaded with cankerworms, I can still get an infestation.

    Meanwhile, I am seeing fewer cankerworms on my trap than in previous years.  I am starting to observe city trees to see the general trend.
  • December 13, 2015 Sunday (0 cw) Total = 2 cw
    1.  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. 

  • 2.  Whatever the Tanglefoot substitute being used is being absorbed by the white band.  That will lower the effectiveness.  Look at the photo above and you can easily see that it is being absorbed and there are no flies except on the blueish areas.
  • 3. I think we have a new type of fly trap because these insects are not cankerworms, but house flies.  Maybe they are attracted to sticky stuff.  Anyone know what it is before I check and find out?


  • What is curious is that these flies seem to be attracted to the jelly like material on the white band.  It will be
  • interesting to see what the answers are to these several questions.  I have talked to others and it seems many bands are attracting flies and other insects too.
  • December 9, 2015 Wednesday (0 cw) Total = 2 cw

  • December 8, 2015 Tuesday (1cw) Total = 2 cw
    I found one female fall cankerworm this morning. The previous cankerworm was on the fifth and it is getting hard to count the worms because there is so much small debris on the trap that I will apply more Tanglefoot to the existing Tanglefoot just to make it easier to read.  A leaf blower trashed one side of the trap which I explain below on December 6, 2015.
    Below is a Bug Barrier Trap that will not work very well.
  • If  YOU install a Bug Barrier trap, then you have to put the trap up correctly for them to work. 

  • bug barrier done wrong 2015.
  • 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 photos

    Maybe 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 Jack

    Photo from Lilac Road in 2007.  Duct Tape turned backwards.

  • cw_trap_lilac_2629_600
  • December 6, 2015 Sunday total (1cw)
  • I have a love hate relationship with a Leaf Blower.  I dislike the noise especially when it is three landscapers blowing every last leaf from a clients property.  When I used to walk my dog Bear, I would wear big red ear protectors because that noise along with the traffic noise on Queens Road West was enough to ruin anyone’s hearing.
    So on Friday the fellow who mows my lawn also used his leaf blower to clean the damp leaves from the back yard near the big tree that has my cankerworm trap.  Trap below

    leaves on cw trap 2015.

  • The leaf trap was loaded with leaves and other trash blown up from the leaf blower.  About two years ago I relegated a old pair of tweezers to use for removing the errant leaf. This time the leaves blew right up there with all their kin folk and other dirt and dust from the ground. It probably took me 30 minutes to extract all the leaves.  Having a minimum width band on the leaf trap minimizes the number of leaves you need to remove. 

    This is especially so during the early winter months when there still are lots of leaves on the trees and some of them will end up in your trap.
  • December 5, 2015 Saturday total (1cw)First sighting of fall cankerworm.  Today
    I found one loan cankerworm on the bottom of the trap.  This is usually a slow process.  I suspect I will not see many more insects on the trap for several days..  I would expect them to accumulate in ten days.  I will be posting to the right of the day a total number of cankerworms sighted as the season progresses.

    first cw 2015


  • December 4, 2015 Friday
    So far, no signs of cankerworms here in Charlotte.  We have had some cold snaps, and it looks like on Sunday the 6th it will drop to 33 degrees.  Nothing has changed as far as I can tell, and I will be curious to see what the 10th of December brings.  That is the date that I first saw cankerworms in Charlotte last year (2014).

    I get asked most every day about where to buy Tanglefoot or Bug Barrier.  I did find that there is a distributor in the area who sells Bug Barrier, but only to companies that charge sales tax.  I fully understand that.  Many small companies such as landscapers are installing cankerworm traps.  They will be reluctant to sell to a do it your-self-er.  Service businesses that normally see a drop off in work during the holiday season are likely to see opportunities to pick up extra money.  I certainly can’t blame them,  but if you want to install your own trap, what options do you have? 
  • The state has toughened up on their sales tax program so I know that if a company does not document its sales, then they can be fined for any materials they have sold.

    I know one person who bought a 5 gallon pail of axle gear oil and is doing his traps with that.  I suspect it is sticky enough to capture cankerworms, but how will it do when the sun shines on the trunk and the grease melts and flows down off the black tar paper.  I suspect the tarpaper would absorb heat and increase the melt.  I have actually seen Tanglefoot melt to a certain extent.  If someone tries the axle grease and it works, please contact me and tell me how it held up.  Hopefully, Tanglefoot will be back on the market in 2016.
  •  November 24, 2015 Tuesday
    I 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  

  • So, this year she is writing almost a month earlier that she is seeing early cankerworm activity.  Here is her message this year in green below.   December 10, 2014.  and then on November 24th of 2015.  That is quite a difference.

    Here Kimberly’s note for November 23, 2015

      Hi Jack,
    Just wanted to let you know there wingless moths were found today on one of our banded trees. It's a meager number but a signal nonetheless they are getting ready to break out in larger numbers soon. Also, to note the first tree (Hickory tree) this year and last year to show activity is at the border of our yard area and had the highest number of moths last year.
    Location: Mountain Island Lake area.
    Thank you,
    Kimberly ******

    This means to me that we are going to be earlier starting this year than in 2014.  In the past I have suggested that it takes 3 consecutive days below freezing for the cankerworms to start moving.  Kimberly has noted the temperatures of November 15, 2015, 27 degrees, November 16, 2015 30 degrees,, and November 23, 2015 at 28 degrees.  I know that my maximum / minimum thermometer outside has registered 3 days below freezing, but to be utterly truthful, I have not recorded the exact dates.  My temperatures do not always agree with the forecast from the Charlotte Airport.

    All this being said, I see lots of traps out here with bands up but no Tanglefoot, and I know that most private yards have not put up traps yet.  Most of the leaves are down so, better get moving.  Also watch out for errant leaf blowers that will cover your traps with dust and leaves.

  • November 23, 2015  Monday
  • The big issue is what do we do about the fact that Tanglefoot for this season is not available.  The Company went out of business and sold to Scott.  I suppose that is the fertilizer company and they have stated that it will be available next season.  I am told that it will be available in the big box stores and cost a good bit more.

    Is there an alternative?  Yes and No... a second option was to use Bug Barrier which is a plastic wrap with s sticky material on the inside.  A batting material is placed on the trunk and the treated plastic is placed on top of that.  Many tree service companies us Bug Barrier and when I was still operating my company we sold a lot of Bug Barrier to our customers.  We liked it because it was much quicker to put On the. tree and much less messy.  There were a couple  of downsides in my opinion.  If it was cold, you would have to heat the Tanglefoot.  We did that by keeping the many gallon we used in our office so they were more or less warm.  When it was time to apply Tanglefoot we would make sure that the trucks involved had their heaters on.

    My most serious objection was that if there was a major infestation, the Bug Barrier trap would become overwhelmed with insects and they would crawl over the backs of trapped insects and continue up the tree.  I told customers who had that problem to just coat some Tanglefoot on the outside of the bug barrier and that would stop the migration.  Now you can not get Tanglefoot at all so that option is out.

    Remember that the migration is spotty and some parts of town have very different levels of infestation.  My suggestion here is that you place Tanglefoot (if you have it) in a very narrow band (about one inch wide} on the lower part of the Tar Paper and observe how many insects you have climbing up.  Typically, the insects will crawl up the tree trunk like 1 a day, then maybe 3,  then 2 each day, 6 and after about ten days you will find lots of insects.  One day I counted over 100 insects on the trap around Christmas time.

    If after some time, your one inch band of Tanglefoot is loaded with insects, just apply another narrow band.  Last year in my case I had to put on two bands of Tanglefoot.  I have observed other trees, street trees in particular, where there would be 6 inches of thick Tanglefoot.  That is unnecessary.  The guys at Black Hawk Hardware some years ago said they sold about a mile of Tar Paper to homeowners in one year.  That along with the Tanglefoot applied, is a pretty good load to the City Dump.  It probably takes a hundred years or more for this stuff to disintegrate and we have been doing it since 1989.
  • November 22, 2015 Sunday 
     I suppose it is time to get serious about cankerworm activity.  I think tonight the temperature is supposed to go to 27 degrees and the same thing on Tuesday.  From past observations, it take about 3 consecutive days in the twenties to activate the cankerworms.   In theory, the worms could start sooner out in the county than in the city, just because it is generally warmer in the city in the fall.   Other factors such as how many warm days we have had preceding a sudden drop would mean that the soil is too warm to activate the cankerworms inner calendar.

    Over the past years the first sightings of cankerworm activity has been in December, but there is no reason I know of why  they might not do so in November if we have the correct drop in temperature.   You probably have noticed  that there are a lot of city traps up already on larger street trees but there is no Tanglefoot on them.  Part of that is make sure the still dropping leaves don’t land on the trap.   

    The big issue for do-it-your-selfers, and I suppose some tree companies is that there is NO Tanglefoot Available
  • October 18, 2015  Sunday
    We had a cold snap last night and the temperature dropped to the low 40’s.  I am posting this just that the season from cankerworm migration will start soon.  It used to be that October 23rd was our first frost date, but I think that has been moved to a little later in the year.  It has been very dry and warm here until recently when we had lots of rain.  We just missed the bullet, when the rain dropped south of us and swamped Columbia South Carolina.  I 85 just opened back up a few days ago.  Parts of inland South Carolina had 20 inches of rain in two days.  Many dams were overtopped and flooded downstream.

    I suspect the cankerworms will be on schedule this season and I think we see lots of them based on how many there were fall as we counted them on the traps.
  • April 28, 2015  Tuesday
    On the home page, I discussed how well banding worked..... here I want to discuss a couple of other points.  The first point is that the infestation must be close to being over.  I see a few stray cankerworms but there are trees in certain areas around town that are heavily defoliated.  That tells me the worms are still feeding.  What I now will watch for is how long it takes for them to put on new foliage.  I am seeing new buds appear on Healthy, Strong willow oaks ... and not so much on weakened or newly planted trees.  This can lead to problem.

    I have been watching a young street tree about 4 to 6 inches inches in diameter under the shade of several large willow oaks.  Last year it was late to leaf out and just from looking I thought it was dead.  The a few weeks later it was out with a full set of new leaves and I was amazed that it looked so good.

    This year (2015) I walked by and noticed that it had not put on any foliage again and reached up to examine a low hanging twig.  The twig was covered with a scale insect and as grabbed the twig I brought back a sticky mess of scale and scale bodies.  I was looking for
    Lecanium Scale
    Lecanium scale is very common on oak trees and someone recently said almost every willow oak in Charlotte probably has some.  Certainly it is something to look out for on you trees.  The crawlers come out in May I believe and move around feeding on tender growth.  The secretions referred to as honey dew will leave a black sooty mold on the bark and sometimes on other things under the tree.  Want to read more on Lecanium Scale here.

    April 14, 2015  Tuesday
    The cankerworms are actively working.  I am not seeing them nearly as heavy as some years.  Of course they are not finished feeding either.  I am seeing lots of cankerworms crawling around.  Some are green with a light gray / black stripe down the back and others are much darker with a black wider strip down the back.  I do not know the difference and speculated that they might be both fall cankerworms and spring cankerworms.  Seems to me at one time I knew how to tell them apart so I better go look at my own notes.  I am also seeing a much fatter caterpillar that is a light  chartreuse green and much bigger.  Don’t know what that one is either.  If you are reading this and know the answers, let me hear from you.

    Update on FSB ( Fiery Searcher Beetle):  I got a note from Matt  and also from Dr. Don Booth: see below.

  • Hi Jack, my wife and I moved to a home in the Ashbrook neighborhood last week and your Blog is an excellent resource for environmental issues. We have eight mature willow oaks on our property (hopefully no fungus in the Fall) and unfortunately the previous owners did not apply the tree bands for cankerworms. That will change next fall! My question is related to the fiery searcher beetle as my wife killed 12 of these beetles yesterday that found their way into our house. My wife is flipping out wanting to call Orkin but I am trying to show her links on your blog saying they are a gardener's friend. Do you have any advice on how to keep them out of the house, and do they go away after the cankerworms burrow into the ground in early May? Also if you would like I can trap some with a light trap and send them your way to help with the cankerworms as I do not like the idea of killing helpful bugs that don't do a lot of property damage.
  • Thanks  -Matt-

    Don’s Response is below:

  • Jack & Matt,
  • There is no easy way to keep the fiery searcher out of homes. However, it is worth the effort to capture them & release outdoors. They are scary looking, will bite, & have a strong defensive odor when handled, so I suggest using gloves.
  • An adult fiery searcher beetle can live as long as 4 years & will consume many hundreds of caterpillars in that time.
  • They seem to disappear into the forest when the cankerworms are gone.
  •   Don Booth
  • April 1, 2015  Wednesday

  • I saw my first fall cankerworm today.  This timing would be OK for a normal season, but it has really been delayed with flowers coming out so I did not expect them to show up until a little later.  What usually happens is that I see the egg cases on the cankerworm traps, and in late March I usually see the newly hatched cankerworms on the trap.   This year everyone is taking the bands down and I could not find any traps in the last few days.  I took mine down also.  I don’t fully believe yet that the Fiery Searcher Beetle is going to come in and devour all the cankerworms, but I believe in science so will give it a chance. 
  • So today I saw a silvery thread hanging from one of my willow oaks and went to look at it. There it was,  a very small cankerworm caterpillar about 1/16th of an inch long.  Give us ten days and they will be everywhere.
  • March 25, 2015  Wednesday
    I hope removing the bands to allow the Fiery Searcher Beetle access to the cankerworms works.  Meanwhile I will post again one of my favorite photos.  This photo was taken on Lilac Road and shows a tree that was heavily infested with cankerworms.  The cankerworms had been in the tree and others around it and were in the process of trying to go back up the tree to feed on any leaves and buds they had missed.  A nearby resident wrapped Duct Tape around the tree with the sticky stuff facing outward and this is what he got.
  • cw_trap_lilac_2629_web

  • March 23, 2015  Monday
    On Saturday March 14, 2015, I contacted Bartlett Tree Labs and spoke with Dr. Don Booth who is a well know and respected entomologist.  Don had some interesting comments and stories about the Fiery Searcher Beetle. He said they are very social beetles and will often cluster on the side of a building.  They apparently have the ability to detect cankerworms from a great distance.  He indicated that it might be as much as a mile and they possibly could smell the frass (droppings on the ground).

    One illustration he had was near the Charlotte Airport where a tree that was loaded with cankerworms was sprayed with an insecticide and not BT (Bacillus thuringiensis) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacillus_thuringiensis which is only harmful to caterpillars.  After the spraying Don and others found numerous dead Fiery Searcher Beetles  (FSB in the future) as well as lots of dead cankerworms.  The point being, the FSB somehow found the insects.  The FSB is a strong climber and might be able to just walk right through Tanglefoot.  Another example might mean that the FSB just goes elsewhere when it encounters a barrier like Tanglefoot.
  • Another illustration Don encountered had to do with some trees that were banded late in the season after all the female cankerworms had laid their eggs.  Once the young cankerworms emerged they fared much better on the recently Banded Trees than the cankerworms in the trees nearby, all of which were loaded with cankerworms.  One explanation might be that the FSB just decided to try a tree that did not have a band with Tanglefoot on it.  Kind of like having a watch dog and the burglar goes and robs someone else.
  • I suppose the answer will not be know for some time, but the scientists suggest we remove the bands now before the young caterpillars emerge. I have already removed my trap. Lets give it a chance and remove the bands before the last of March.
  • March 12, 2015  Thursday
  • One of the things that makes me a little skeptical about the fiery searcher beetle eating all the cankerworms that try to crawl back down and then up the tree again is that there are many heavily infested trees. In the Spring, these trees have thousands of beetles captured in the traps that were installed in the fall, and we have been leaving the traps up in the Spring for years just to capture the caterpillars as they move around. I have yet to see any Fiery Searcher Beetles caught in the traps. The Tanglefoot does capture some stray insects. This also coincides with an article I read from The Cankerworm Chronicles ... NCSU ... Raleigh. Although Fiery Searcher Beetles are common in the Forest, they are not common in the Urban environment.  Here is a link if you want to read it all ...https://news.ncsu.edu/2015/02/the-cankerworm-chronicles/
  • March 11, 2015  Wednesday

  • I did a followup search on the Fiery Searcher Beetle which is commonly called the caterpillar beetle. It seems there are many species and most are beneficial insects.  We can do things in our gardens and yards to encourage them. I found this link that was very helpful to me in understanding them and why they help control fall cankerworms and for that matter help in our gardens to become less dependent on insecticides. Here is the link:  http://www.pacifichorticulture.org/articles/garden-allies-predaceous-ground-beetles/    There were 26,900 results to a search for fiery searcher ground beetle. 
  • fiery_searcher_dawn_2

  • March 10, 2015  Tuesday
    Flash Message from City Arborist about Cankerworms:
    I received a message yesterday evening that we should be taking down our cankerworm traps.  That is because there is an insect that will devour the cankerworm larvae when they hatch.  Don Mc Sween says that these Fiery      Beetle are here naturally and not imported.
  • Here is his message. This is a reminder to start removing your bands to allow for the Fiery Searcher Beetle. This is a “caterpillar gobbler” that will eat over 200 caterpillars a day. The Larvae of this beetle also eats caterpillars. The reason for taking down the bands is that the adult (shown above) will climb the trees in search of its delectable meal.
  • I have a photo to post later.

  • In the past we have left the traps on to trap the beetles when they are coming down or going up the tree.  We often catch 1000s.   This fiery search beetle is something new to me.  If it works great.  The cankerworm eggs are all in the tops of trees and will come out the last or March.  It might be a little later this year because of the unseasonably cold.  Daffodils are just now coming out and they are a month late.

Below this point you will find the information that I accidentally deleted.  It is accurate in content but I have not placed

March 10, 2015
Today, 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 won’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 1219
February 13, 2015 Friday Morning 6 cankerworms trapped total is 1216
February 12, 2015 Thursday Morning 19 cankerworms trapped total is 1210
There 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 1191
February 10, 2015 Tuesday Morning 00 cankerworms trapped total is 1152
February 9, 2015 Monday Morning 00 cankerworms trapped total is 1152
February 8, 2015 Sunday Morning 00 cankerworms trapped total is 1152
February 7, 2015 Saturday Morning 00 cankerworms trapped total is 1152
February 6, 2015 Friday Morning 48 cankerworms trapped total is 1152
February 5, 2015 Thursday Morning 00 cankerworms trapped total is 1104
February 4, 2015 Wednesday Morning 89 cankerworms trapped total is 1104
February 3, 2015 Tuesday Morning 87 cankerworms trapped total is 1015
February 2, 2015 Monday Morning 00 cankerworms trapped total is 928
February 1, 2015 Sunday Morning 20 cankerworms trapped total is 928
January 31, 2015 Saturday Morning 29 cankerworms trapped total is 908
January 30, 2015 Friday Morning 30 cankerworms trapped total is 879
January 29, 2015 Thursday Morning 89 cankerworms trapped total is 849
January 28, 2015 Wednesday Morning 10 cankerworms trapped total is 760
January 27, 2015 Tuesday Morning 89 cankerworms trapped total is 750

January 26, 2015 Monday Morning 85 cankerworms trapped total is 661
January 26, 2015 Monday Morning
This message just came in from City Arborist Donald McSween.
We are still counting traps to see what the Fall Cankerworm is doing. I’ll send out the numbers once they are
finished 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 Road
Beaux Ave. (off Wilkinson Boulevard)
Reminders: Take down your traps by the end of March to allow the Fiery Searcher Beetle access to the trees. These
large, metallic colored beetles are voracious caterpillar eaters. Thanks to Dr. Don Booth (Bartlett Labs) for sharing that information
with us.
Next year when you put up your traps, DO NOT put your Tanglefoot© 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 enough
Donald McSween Charlotte City Arborist
January 25, 2015 Sunday 14 cankerworms trapped total is 576
January 24, 2015 Saturday 06 cankerworms trapped total is 562000
Just trying to get a day ahead (entered Friday)
January 23, 2015 Friday 14 cankerworms trapped total is 556
January 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 464
Street Tree January 14, 2015 Wednesday 84 cankerworms trapped total is 1149
I 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. It’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.   

January 18, 2015 Sunday 37 cankerworms trapped total is 428
Street Tree January 14, 2015 Sunday 00 cankerworms trapped total is 1065 

January 17, 2015 Saturday 0 cankerworms trapped total is 354
Street Tree January 17, 2015 Saturday 103 cankerworms trapped total is 1065

January 16, 2015 Friday 1 cankerworms trapped total is 354
Street Tree January 16, 2015 Friday 102 cankerworms trapped total is 962 

January 15, 2015 Thursday 1 cankerworms trapped total is 353
Street Tree January 15, 2015 Thursday 15 cankerworms trapped total is 860

January 14, 2015 Wednesday 5 cankerworms trapped total is 352
Street Tree January 14, 2015 Wednesday 13 cankerworms trapped total is 845 
January 13, 2015 Tuesday 11 cankerworms trapped total is 347
Street Tree January 13, 2015 Tuesday 39 cankerworms trapped total is 832
January 12, 2015 Monday 160 cankerworms trapped total is 336
Street Tree January 12, 2015 Monday 245 cankerworms trapped total is 793
No 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 176
Street Tree January 11, 2015 Sunday 8 cankerworms trapped total is 548

January 10, 2015 Saturday 34 cankerworms trapped total is 176
Street Tree January 10, 2015 Saturday 19 cankerworms trapped total is 540

January 9, 2015 Friday 0 cankerworms trapped total is 142
Street Tree January 9, 2015 Friday 13 cankerworms trapped total is 521
January 8, 2015 Thursday 00 cankerworms trapped total is 142
Street Tree January 8, 2015 Thursday 12 cankerworms trapped total is 508
Very 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 142
Street Tree January 7, 2015 Wednesday 87 cankerworms trapped total is 496
January 6, 2015 Tuesday 34 cankerworms trapped total is 105
Street Tree January 6, 2015 Tuesday 86 cankerworms trapped total is 409
Usually 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 didn’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 71
Street 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 2015

January 4, 2015 Sunday 0 cankerworms trapped total is 67
Street Tree January 4, 2015 Sunday 30 cankerworms trapped total is 295

January 3, 2015 Saturday 0 cankerworms trapped total is 67
Street Tree January 3, 2015 Saturday 0 cankerworms trapped total is 265
January 2, 2015 Friday 1 cankerworms trapped total is 67
Street Tree January 2, 2015 Friday 60 cankerworms trapped total is 265
January 1, 2015 Thursday 36 cankerworms trapped total is 66
Street Tree January 1, 2015 Thursday 37 cankerworms trapped total is 205

December 31, 2014 Wednesday 0 cankerworms trapped total is 30
Street Tree December 31, 2014 Wednesday 45 cankerworms trapped total is 168
December 30, 2014 Tuesday 0 cankerworms trapped total is 30
Street Tree December 30, 2014 Tuesday 45 cankerworms trapped total is 168
In general the female cankerworms don’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.  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. 
December 29, 2014 Monday 7 cankerworms trapped total is 30
Street Tree December 29, 2014 Monday 51 cankerworms trapped total is 123

December 28, 2014 Sunday 7 cankerworms trapped total is 23
Street 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 21
December 27, 2014 Saturday 4 cankerworms trapped total is 16
December 26, 2014 Friday 4 cankerworms trapped total is 12
I 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 8
December 24, 2014 Wednesday 0 cankerworms trapped total is 8
With 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 8
Now 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.

2014-12-16 11.57.24

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 5
I 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