What Every Homeowner Needs to Know About Their Aging Trees

Where did all the Cankerworms go in the spring of 2019


 Cankerworm Page


Cankerworms 2017/2018/2019

If you are just visiting this page, you might want to first look at Cankerworms 2007-2008 I gave a fairly detailed program about cankerworms, and then wrote up most of the text for this web site.   What you see directly below goes back to the first of the year (2012).  If you want to see what happened earlier, go back to the Cankerworm 2011 in the sidebar to the left.  The  link on the left for 2016 goes all the way back to 2010 as one long posting.  Since it is there, I will just leave it, but my intention is to include current information about cankerworms on the specific page for the year or dates indicated.

  Jack McNeary


I have some more information to enter here.  Cankerworms just started late January 28th 2019

August 14, 2019 Tuesday
Today I want to enter a message I wrote about the failure of the fall cankerworms to show up during the preceding Fall and Spring.  Usually we them climb the trees in the fall after a good hard freeze that last for 3 days or so.

I have created a separate page for the explanation as I see it.  For what it is worth I still attend the meetings of the Charlotte Arborists Association and at the June meeting I was asked what I thought about the situation.  The folks attending these meetings are mostly all working arborist and make their living climbing, pruning, and observing and treating tree issues. Everyone agreed they for all practical purposes did not encounter any cankerworms during the 2018-2019 season.

Here is a link to the page Where did the cankerworms go.

February 24, 2019 Sunday
There is no activity I can find for cankerworms.  I realize that I am in just one section of Charlotte, but I did spot 3 female cankerworms earlier, but that is it.  I have looked at dozens of street tree willow oaks and find nothing.  I do not intend to post of this page until we see cankerworms or have reports about them until the are close to coming out which normally is the last of March and early April.


January 27, 2019 Sunday
If anyone has seen cankerworms moving up the trees, please let me know.  When I first started keeping track of them, we were putting up traps about the 25th of November which was Thanksgiving.  Over the years the dates have become later and later.  Here it is the 27th of January and I just put up the tarpaper for my trap.  I have looked at city trees and trees on private property and not seen any evidence of female cankerworm.   I took photos yesterday of some observations and have posted them on the cankerworm page for 2018-2019 which is linked here and also on the left sidebar.  If you have not read much about our problem which has been pretty local in nature, then take a look at the cankerworm page for 2007 and 2008.

Since the posting on January 21st, below, there has been a good cold snap of three days, not necessarily in a row where it has been 27 degrees or below.  The cankerworms should start moving up the trees pretty soon.  I expect a small infestation this year.

photo here later in next day or so.,

January 21, 2019 Monday
This morning it was 24 degrees at my home and we are expected to see even colder weather on Tuesday.  I have seen no cankerworms this fall.  If you have spotted any, please let me know at  jmcneary@gmail.com

January 11, 2019 Friday
I suppose I should put up my cankerworm traps, but I am confident that we will not see them before we have some good cold days.  I had ice on the bird bath yesterday and today.

January 10, 2019 Thursday
There has been little reason to post anything on this page since it appears the cankerworms are late coming this year.  Any minor activity will be noted on the home page.


September 11, 2018
I should have posted this two weeks ago.  I saw a type of cankerworm parachuting down from the willow oak in my back yard.  If I can find another, I will surely photograph it.  Since then there were several more.  This one has the same type of legs as the fall cankerworm but is not.  The color is a distinct ugly green.  The best I can describe is it Chicken S... Green.  We know there are many species of cankerworms and I believe that this would be one of them.  It did have the two sets of legs, one in the front and one in the back.  To my knowledge this particualar insect has no bearing on the fall cankerworm which won’t show up for several months


See disclaimer on home page.  having computer problems

Will get the data back soon.  Today is Jan 5, 2018  All info about cankerworm is on main page.  It has been a very strange year.  Go to Home page

December 17, 2017 Sunday
No sign of the Cankerworms yet.  I have not put up my tar paper but will tomorrow if I can.  I have seen some leaves and trash blown up into the tree traps but most of the leaves are down now and soon  I expect the cankerworms even though at my home it has not dropped below 28 a single night. 


December 14, 2017
I am reluctant to make a prediction on exactly when the cankerworms will start crawling.  Where I live, it is not as cold as it must be at the weather station at the airport.  They get readings of 26 and I get 28 plus.  Maybe they will emerge soon, maybe not.

December 12, 2017 Tuesday
Don’t jump the gun on the cankerworm traps.  I see individuals and the city banding the trees in the median on QRW.  I also see trees with loads of leaves, and now I see traps with Tanglefoot and leaves plastered to the trap.

We still have a few days before the cankerworms move.  In the county, maybe, but here in Charlotte, proper, the cold has been barely below freezing.  The predictions from a week ago are a few days late.  I expected brutal cold a few days ago, and I do think it will be cold enough soon.
The worms will start slowly and if you are a homeowner and have the band up you can put a 1 inch band around the tree and wait until you see several cankerworms.  If you can wait until the leaves do fall and then put ample Tanglefoot on the trap you will save yourself some grief and the trap will be more effective.  Unfortunately, the city and the companies that you contract to are between a rock and a hard place.  Get a pair of old tweezers and remove the leaves stuck to you trap one at a time.

December 6, 2017
We are expecting 25 degrees this Saturday and 21 for Sunday.  Monday 33, and then on Tuesday 24, December 13th again 25.  This should get the female cankerworms started.  The leaves will be mostly gone so now all you have to do is worry about the leaf blowers.  I have neighbors who use these large lawn care companies and are using 3 or more leaf blowers at a time.  I wear ear protection muffs when I go out in my back yard.  The noise is deafening.

It might be interesting to note the actual dates that the cankerworm has emerged in the past.
I plan to go back through the records and see.  I marked the date I first saw the starting date in red so it will not be hard to track.  On the left sidebar one can go back ten years.


It’s time to start a new page on cankerworm activity.  In the past I have waited until the end of the year to start a new page, but it seems more appropriate to start a page as we get ready to enter the fall cankerworm season.

Interestingly enough today is Thanksgiving Day 2017, November 23rd.  Every year the question comes up about when to start banding.  I started studying cankerworms after Hurricane Hugo slammed Charlotte pretty badly in 1989.  There were trees down everywhere and we have been struggling with cankerworm problems ever since.  When cankerworms started becoming a issue, no one understood their breeding habits, why did the females come out of the ground at a certain time, when did they lay their eggs, where did they lay their eggs.  I first started capturing them on a trap in my front yard and counted them every day, mashed them, and kept a record of their activity.

Over time, when they emerge has been something that has changed, but other than that the cankerworms perform much as they have for millions of years.  On this site, the sidebar on the left will take you back to what I have observed in the past.

Cankerworms are not here yet, so I will add to this page.  Meanwhile it is too early to band your trees unless your trees and your neighbor’s trees are defoliated.

It takes 3 days of temperature around 27 degrees F. for the cankerworms to emerge.

more later