What Every Homeowner Needs to Know About Their Aging Trees

Where did all the Cankerworms go in the spring of 2019


 Cankerworm Page

    Cankerworms December 2015-November 2017

    There are post that do not start and stop on any particular date.  A little depends when the cankerworms start their migration  Basically this is the page for 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)

    In February, the Fall Cankerworms stop their fall migration up the trunk of the tree, I start a new page. The new page will start directly below with a month of so of carry over from the previous year.  You can follow the archives to your left in the sidebar.  JMM
    November 23, 2017
    It is Thanksgiving day 2017.  I have made an entry to the home page.. Click here for early cankerworm reporting.   Jack

    December 7, 2016
    Last year we could not get Tanglefoot.  I had some correspondence from several people who experimented with Red & Tacky.  Read the paragraph from directly below from last year in January.

  • 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.
  • December 6, 2016

  • It has been a long time since I have been able to access the web site.  I have been having lots of questions from folks who have visited this site for years during the cankerworm season.  Yes we will continue following Fall Cankerworms.  I suspect they will be out shortly since we are expecting some really cold weatheby the week end.
  • Meanwhile, the leaves are off of many of our trees.  In my case overnight with the rain and wind, all the leaves are gone.  I will band today or tomorrow.  I have had one person who lives on Mountain Island Lake say she saw her first female on Sunday.  Every year she seems to be several days ahead of the infestation.
  • Also I have just installed Net Objects Fusion to run the web site and had been using Version 9 for over ten years.  Guess it was time to change.

    April 29, 2016  Friday
    Recap for 2016 on highlights for yearly cankerworm infestation.

    I will not finish this posting as I sit here now.  I have several photos I want to go back and add to this post.  In general we were lucky and the infestation was nearly as bad as I expected.  There were several parts of town where the trees were hit hard.  I traveled to Mint Hill and there were sections there were entire trees were defoliated.

    Update,  May 30th 2016 ...  There will not be any cankerworm activity until fall.  The general rule is that you want to get your traps up around Thanksgiving ie late November.  You are also smart to not install them when the leaves are coming down in droves as the traps will be overburdened.

    If this concerns you then place the trap on the tree without filling it with Tanglefoot or whatever material you want to use.  Consider just a small band about  one inch wide as a start.  This will trap the early insects and you will get an idea as to how bad the infestaion will be.

    If things get less busy for me I will post more remarks later.

    I suspect Tanglefoot will be available but probably more expensive.  We have some thoughts for some alternatives that work and are a lot less expensive.    Check back later. jmm

     April 12, 2016  Saturday
     Easter Sunday was about the height of the cankerworm migration.  The worms were moving up the trees rapidly and silken threads were everywhere.  It was quite windy and the cankerworms on their silken threads were blown into other trees.  Shortly after Easter, we had more windy and cold weather.  The temperature dipped to the low 30’s.  The timing of wind spread the cankerworms more than in other years, and the low temperatures slowed the worms down.

    I don’t think the cold was enough to kill cankerworms out right, but the certainly slowed down their feeding for several days.

    Maybe those days of moderate feeding is why I am not seeing as much defoliation as I expected.

    As I drive around the area, I see minor defoliation of trees, especially willow oaks.  I do see the major defoliation of two groups of Yoshino Cherry trees in Freedom park.  There is a row of willow oaks that border the tennis courts and Sugar Creek in Freedom Park which are usually heavily attacked.  This year I saw women who walked by the tennis courts removing lots of cankerworms from their hair, but the trees did not suffer as bad as what I would consider Normal

    Mint Hill .... some years is a real hot spot and I was there last week and there is more defoliation than in Myers Park, but a lot of trees escape.

    Where that brings us is that as usual, the intensity of the cankerworm feeding in the spring is scattered.  If you have had serious problems, in your part of town or county, let me hear from you as I will post that here.

    I suppose I should also should say that my prediction was wrong in that expected a much greater problem, especially with city trees where the scarcity of Tanglefoot allowed lots of cankerworms to move to the tops of the trees.  Here, there are still a few cankerworms on the trunks and a few worms dangling down from there silken threads, but the season is over for Charlotte.

  • Read More... Easter



    April 2, 2016 Saturday
    I saw my first Fiery Searcher Beetle today.  I have a good photo which I will post later today with some comments.

    Fiery Searcher Beetle


    I found this guy running around quite fast over the trap on a city tree.  Note its size to the fall cankerworm below that is almost an inch long.  The glue on this trap is the Catch Master which did not work well at all.  It was slowing up some of the cankerworms going up the tree but did not slow the searcher beetle any at all.  He (or she) was not interested in any of the hundreds of insects on the trunk and trap and eventually dropped off the tree band.  

    The photo was taken yesterday and today, Saturday is sunny and warm.  There are hundreds of cankerworms coming down on their silken threads and most of them are immature insects.  These are the insects that blow into other trees and if they get to the ground they then crawl back up the trunk and continue feeding.

    March 30, 2016 Wednesday
    I have been watching the development of the little green cankerworms over the past couple of weeks.  I started seeing them on the traps or going up certain trees about a week ago.  Now they are quite a bit larger and a good 1/2 inch to 3/4 of an inch long.  I actually expected them to be doing more defoliation at this point but I am not seeing much yet. 

    The willow oaks are still coming out, (developing leaves), some are still way behind.  I have three 5 to 7 inch small willow oaks in my yard which were planted three years ago.  One is out in full foliage and three others are very late.  I have also noticed a number of street trees and other neighborhood trees where some trees are very much behind the others.  One answer might be that it has been very dry for several weeks with little rain.  This could be causing trees under stress to be delayed in putting out leaf growth.

    From past experience early April is when I have seen major defoliation, so we might be coming to that time soon.  In some cases there are large numbers of the more mature worms climbing the trunks.

    Below are two photographs of one of the large willow oaks at freedom park on the waters edge.  The band has lots of gaps in it where the the insects can crawl up the trunks.  This photo was taken on March 25th. as is the photo below it.
      Photo coming soon. jmm


  •  March 21, 2016 Monday
    Here is a photo from Dave Wagoner’s tree

  • March 21st, 2016 Monday
    Here is Dave Wagoner’s email. 

  • Hi Jack. My name is David Wagoner. I live in southeast side of Mooresville, NC and am a cankerworm battler. I have white, red and post oak, Japanese maple, and apple trees that were badly affected over the last two years. Even got into my blueberry bushes as well. So this year I got real serious with banding. One big problem for me is my neighbor's have willow oaks and they don't band. Their trees were initially completely denuded last year. I actually banded one of my neighbor's oaks that is closest to my yard. Hopefully that will reduce the windblown transfer to my yard.

    I banded 12 trees (I stocked up on Tanglefoot early). Moth count was tremendous - no way to keep track of the count.

    All that said, I noticed the first baby cankerworms on Friday, March 11 on the neighbor's willow oak (more moths trapped on it than any other tree.) Not a birth "bloom" yet but the willow oak buds are starting to open.---so here they come.

    I've left the bands on the trees in hopes of capturing the baby's in the remaining Tanglefoot. No sign of Fiery Searcher Beetles yet. I have Sevin dust ready to use if bands are overwhelmed. I don't like using pesticides, but I hate cankerworms and my trees need a break this year.

    Will let you know how it proceeds.

    Thanks for all the info on your website. It has been helpful in my efforts to help control this pesky insect.
  •  March 14, 2016 Monday
    I received a message today from David Wagoner who lives a little south of Mooresville NC.  He spotted baby cankerworms on March the 11th.  So far I have not seen any in Charlotte but that might be for a variety of reasons: 
    1.  Many if not most of the city traps didn’t work very well because they were using Catch Master glue. see negatives about that
    2.  Tar paper holding Tanglefoot stays dry below the Tanglefoot and it must be easier for the male cankerworms to find the females there.  This is the area where I always have found egg clusters in the past.  This year I am using the Saran like plastic, and I can find no trace of egg clusters.  I am also using Tangle foot.
    3.  I think a lot of insect got past the traps and that we will have a heavy infestation this year.  I could be wrong but if so will acknowledge that. 

    Meanwhile I will post David Wagoner’s letter tomorrow  (see March 21st).  Have run out of time.

    February 25th, 2016 Thursday (00 cw) Total =  743cw
    This part of the cankerworm season is over.  We will see the eggs hatch about the last week of March.  Normal emergence of the baby cankerworms is in early April, often about the 10th.  If you leave your traps up you will see that the male insects have laid egg clusters on the trap.  The male are attracted by a pheromone released by the female.

    I will probably post some information about the Fiery Searcher Beetle later, but the reason I mention it now is that last year we were advised by local scientist that we should take down traps now because the FSB would eat all the canker worms up.  I did not see that it did that much good, and I have advised people to leave the traps up because they catch a lot of hatched insects that are crawling around on the trunk.

    About the next to the last week of March start looking for small green 1/16th of an inch long on an existing cankerworm trap. Ten days after you see your first little worm they will be descending the tree by crawling on the trunk or dropping down by a silken thread.  My experience shows that you can catch hundreds if not thousands of fall cankerworms depending on the severity of the hatch.  Each cankerworm that pupates and goes up the tree again in the fall can lay 200 or more insects. 

    February 16, 2016 Tuesday (00 cw) Total =  743cw
    I believe we can say the cankerworms are effectively done for the season.

    February 15, 2016 Monday (0 cw) Total =  743cw

  • February 13, 2016 Sunday (0 cw) Total =  743cw
  • February 12, 2016 Saturday (03 cw) Total =  743cw

  • February 11, 2016 Friday (11 cw) Total =  740 cw
    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 =  729 cw
    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 =  729 cw
  • February 8, 2016 Tuesday (8 cw) Total =  721 cw
  • February 7, 2016 Monday (9 cw) Total =  721cw
  • February 6, 2016 Sunday (8 cw) Total =  712 cw
  • February 5, 2016 Saturday (21 cw) Total =  704 cw
  • January 29, 2016 Friday (16 cw) Total =  683 cw
  • January 22, 2016 Friday (0 cw) Total =  667 cw
  • Interesting day ahead.  Snowed overnight with 3 inches of snow in some places in my yard. Drive and sidewalks 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 =  667 cw.
  • January 20, 2016 Wednesday (8 cw) Total =  665 cw
  • January 19, 2016 Tuesday (2 cw) Total =  657 cw
  • January 18, 2016 Monday (00 cw) Total =  655 cw
  • January 17, 2016 Sunday (48 cw) Total =  655 cw

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

  • January 15, 2016 Friday (37 cw) Total =  599 cw
    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 =  562 cw
    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.
  • 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


  • If you want to see what preceded this page, go back to Cankerworms for 2015.


Lilac Road Willow oak with Duct Tape turned  backwards.  Thousands of Cankerworms are stuck to the Duct Tape glue.