November 13, 2009 As the season progresses, follow the cankerworm progress by by clicking on Cankerworms (current info)
September 18, 2009
It is time to start thinking about the cankerworm season for 2009. Traditionally, Thanksgiving day (late November) is the time we say that you need to have sticky bands up on your trees. The wingless females live in the ground and come out after a hard freeze.
Last season I did some calculating based on previous counts of the cankerworm. I counted cankerworms trapped on one of the willow oaks in my yard. I keep a daily count since I mash the bugs about noon daily and therefore can tell how many new cankerworms each day. By late january most of the insects have tried to get up the trees so I used January 21 as the date.
In 2007 our total count was 5204 cankerworms.
January 21, 2008 the count was 1394 cankerworms.
The difference is 3810 fewer insects in 2008 which still means there was a possibility for lots of cankerworms in the tree. If all 1394 got to the top of the tree, mated and laid 200 eggs, then there was a potential for 278,800 cankerworms in the spring. That did not happen, I caught sixteen insects on the same tree as of April 30, 2009.
What happened over the winter, I do not know. Winter seemed normal enough to me. If we are lucky the infestation will be low.
What I Plan To Do
I will band one of my five trees with tar paper around Thanksgiving. I use tar paper because it is easier to count the insects. On the other four tree, I will do nothing unless I see activity on the first trap.
I will use a plastic wrap similar to Saran Wrap. This material is used for packaging and can be wrapped around the tree in just a few minutes. I will have some type of batting material to place in the voids to keep the cankerworms from crawling underneath the plastic wrap.
If I do not use the banding materials this year, there will always be next year.