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[Canadian Tire] Safer’s BTK caterpillar killer $12.99

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Jr. Member
Nov 24, 2009
111 posts
14 upvotes
Toronto
Not sure what the white clouded patches are called but that’s where they seem to start on my tree! They were on one side of my house at one point but I am on top of it this year and will be wacking with a stick them as soon as I see them.
Xoanan wrote: Gypsy moths don't make "nest". Their egg sacks are fuzzy looking yellow patches about the size of a loonie.
They will lay them on Anything, not just trees. Bricks, cement, trees, basketball nets, etc

Having said that, they will mostly be hatched by now and will keep growing and eating for another month and a bit

They then pupape (not sure how to spell that) where you will see little reddish brown cuccoon like things for a few weeks

Finally those hatch into moths. The females do not fly. They will mate and deposit egg sacks all over, and then die off.

So, in theory if you squished them all, yes you'd be fine to leave them in trees, but you'll never get them all
Sr. Member
Mar 12, 2012
553 posts
465 upvotes
Belleville
mslofty wrote: Not sure what the white clouded patches are called but that’s where they seem to start on my tree! They were on one side of my house at one point but I am on top of it this year and will be wacking with a stick them as soon as I see them.
I'm just saying if you have a full on "nest" or "tent" you have something other than gypsy moths

Gypsy do make 'silk' but mostly to drop for trees.
Newbie
Mar 16, 2008
46 posts
69 upvotes
Toronto
i spent a lot of the winter scraping egg masses off trees.

it might be too late for BTK now depending on your location and the life stage of the gypsy moth.
Jr. Member
Nov 24, 2009
111 posts
14 upvotes
Toronto
These guys are on my tree. I did not get the actual picture of the cloud like patches with millions of dark/black eggs but found these white clouded patches on the internet.
Xoanan wrote: I'm just saying if you have a full on "nest" or "tent" you have something other than gypsy moths

Gypsy do make 'silk' but mostly to drop for trees.
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Deal Addict
May 25, 2011
2947 posts
4258 upvotes
SAINT JOHN
boyaremyarmstired wrote: Any tips for application into tall trees? I know pressure washer won’t mix accurately, but is that much of a problem? Picking up a hose-end mixer today, but I imagine that the pressure will be limited.
If you live in front of a city lamp post then try climbing it then spray it but your username may check out. :D


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Deal Addict
May 25, 2011
2947 posts
4258 upvotes
SAINT JOHN
nickscott wrote: I’m using a garden sprayer duct-taped to my cordless leaf blower and it works amazing. I’ve been doing all the trees in minutes and we have zero caterpillars.

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Red-Green approved!


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'I love the smell of BTK in the morning' ....' it smells....like.....victory!'





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User avatar
Jul 13, 2014
4356 posts
1861 upvotes
Parry Sound
How do I know if it's the moth kind or the butterfly kind?

I only want to kill moth caterpillars.
This message has been approved by the Office of the Mayor of Toronto.
Deal Addict
Oct 20, 2004
3471 posts
542 upvotes
Toronto
simplypop wrote: Wonder how toxic this stuff is. Interesting creates a cloud.
These pesticides are getting stronger and stronger. Don't understand why people take the easy way out when in the long run, it's a negative when these bugs get stronger and more resilient.

Can someone think of the bees? Lol
Sr. Member
Mar 12, 2012
553 posts
465 upvotes
Belleville
mslofty wrote: These guys are on my tree. I did not get the actual picture of the cloud like patches with millions of dark/black eggs but found these white clouded patches on the internet.
I can't totally make out the first picture, but those do look like gypsy moths (Are there two different colours of dots on their back?)

The second picture - those are NOT gyspys. I think those are Eastern Tent, which look similar. In fact fact the bottom right in your photo "iowatreepests.com | gypsy moth look" - that last work is "look alike"

To quote:

Eastern tent caterpillar (Malacosoma americanum) appear in the spring, and are the species most often confused for gypsy moth in Iowa. Caterpillars hatch about the time when crabapple trees are in bloom which is about 3 to 4 weeks earlier than gypsy moth. Damage from eastern tent caterpillar is usually noticed in the month of May.

Tents from caterpillar groups can be quite extensive; although, they are contary to gypsy moth. Gypsy moth caterpillars do not produce tents, or have extensive webbing.


Techno87 posted a nice resource a post or two about yours that shows them. I've attached a URL with a photo of what gypsy moth eggs look like before they hatch.

Image

ALL of this, I'm not trying to be argumentative or anything, just want to let you know that you might be fighting two different pests, with two different lifecycles or treatment. (I don't know anything about the tent ones)
Sr. Member
Dec 19, 2011
549 posts
222 upvotes
MayorOfToronto wrote: How do I know if it's the moth kind or the butterfly kind?

I only want to kill moth caterpillars.
It’s all about the timing. The only caterpillars active right now are gypsy moths. Other beneficial caterpillars like monarch come out later.
Sr. Member
Dec 19, 2011
549 posts
222 upvotes
flame02 wrote: These pesticides are getting stronger and stronger. Don't understand why people take the easy way out when in the long run, it's a negative when these bugs get stronger and more resilient.

Can someone think of the bees? Lol
BTK is harmless to bees and is naturally occurring in soil. There are no known harmful effects long term as this has been sprayed over populated areas since the 60s.
Sr. Member
User avatar
May 3, 2007
746 posts
257 upvotes
nickscott wrote: I’m using a garden sprayer duct-taped to my cordless leaf blower and it works amazing. I’ve been doing all the trees in minutes and we have zero caterpillars.

CA75697C-FE04-43E4-85D4-FC765E492061.jpeg
Step aside Elon, you poser.
This is the smartest man alive.
Jr. Member
Nov 24, 2009
111 posts
14 upvotes
Toronto
I might be fighting two battles. Have a look.
Xoanan wrote: I can't totally make out the first picture, but those do look like gypsy moths (Are there two different colours of dots on their back?)

The second picture - those are NOT gyspys. I think those are Eastern Tent, which look similar. In fact fact the bottom right in your photo "iowatreepests.com | gypsy moth look" - that last work is "look alike"

To quote:

Eastern tent caterpillar (Malacosoma americanum) appear in the spring, and are the species most often confused for gypsy moth in Iowa. Caterpillars hatch about the time when crabapple trees are in bloom which is about 3 to 4 weeks earlier than gypsy moth. Damage from eastern tent caterpillar is usually noticed in the month of May.

Tents from caterpillar groups can be quite extensive; although, they are contary to gypsy moth. Gypsy moth caterpillars do not produce tents, or have extensive webbing.


Techno87 posted a nice resource a post or two about yours that shows them. I've attached a URL with a photo of what gypsy moth eggs look like before they hatch.

Image

ALL of this, I'm not trying to be argumentative or anything, just want to let you know that you might be fighting two different pests, with two different lifecycles or treatment. (I don't know anything about the tent ones)
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Deal Addict
Oct 20, 2004
3471 posts
542 upvotes
Toronto
nickscott wrote: BTK is harmless to bees and is naturally occurring in soil. There are no known harmful effects long term as this has been sprayed over populated areas since the 60s.
Thanks for the information! If that is true, then have at it, however I suspect any poison in concentration would affect any living thing. I'm sure you wouldn't want to breathe this stuff in.
Member
Nov 16, 2006
487 posts
304 upvotes
Toronto
Some of you may want to invest in Bird feeders instead, I have watched Orioles, Song sparrows, Grackles and other birds devouring these caterpillars at fast as they find them. So far I am seeing minimal damage to my trees and lots of fat birds.
Sr. Member
Dec 19, 2011
549 posts
222 upvotes
flame02 wrote: Thanks for the information! If that is true, then have at it, however I suspect any poison in concentration would affect any living thing. I'm sure you wouldn't want to breathe this stuff in.
BTK is harmless to pretty much every living thing other than caterpillars. It's not a toxin, it's a natural bacterium found in soil. It's probably already on your skin right now. The way it works is the bacterium thrive in alkaline environments, like a caterpillar stomach. When caterpillars eat leaves covered in BTK, the bacteria make an endotoxin that kills the caterpillar from the inside out. You can breath the stuff, but it smells funky. People have gotten concentrated BTK in their eyes and nothing bad happens. It's the perfect solution as long as you don't apply it later in the season when you'd harm beneficial caterpillars.
Deal Addict
Oct 20, 2004
3471 posts
542 upvotes
Toronto
nickscott wrote: BTK is harmless to pretty much every living thing other than caterpillars. It's not a toxin, it's a natural bacterium found in soil. It's probably already on your skin right now. The way it works is the bacterium thrive in alkaline environments, like a caterpillar stomach. When caterpillars eat leaves covered in BTK, the bacteria make an endotoxin that kills the caterpillar from the inside out. You can breath the stuff, but it smells funky. People have gotten concentrated BTK in their eyes and nothing bad happens. It's the perfect solution as long as you don't apply it later in the season when you'd harm beneficial caterpillars.
You are quite the scholar and gentleman! Well written explanation!
Member
Oct 14, 2007
406 posts
456 upvotes
Thedford
I'll try to be brief.

Gypsy moths are an invasive insect. In the late 1800's they were brought over from Europe in an attempt to breed and make silk. They escaped into the wild and the rest is history.

They are a tree defoliation and reproduction machine. Hatching in mid to late April the female caterpillars grow to about 2 inches; the males to about 1.75 inches and can consume about 1 square foot of tree foliage every 24 hours. Imagine thousands of them on a tree. Every single leaf from an eighty foot oak tree in front of the house was destroyed in a week. Then they move to the next tree and do the same. In my experience these rascals prefer oak leaves followed by maple and birch. They quite like pine and spruce needles and will also eat hostas; anything green if their favorite food is not available. They continue to eat and grow until early July then cocoon and emerge as beige moths (males) and white moths (females) about 7 days later. The males fly but the females generally do not. The females literally have to crawl to where they will mate. Interestingly once they become moths, they generally do not eat. Their only purpose now is to mate. The moths live for a few days. Once mated the female lays an egg mass and dies. If you see a fairly large dead white winged moth on the ground, there is likely an egg mass (laid by the dead female) close by.

A female moth produces an egg mass that can contain 100 - 1000 eggs. They usually leave these masses on the bottom side of tree branches, but can and will lay them anywhere. This usually begins in mid-July. The females are larger and lighter (almost white) and the egg mass is about the colour of a shelled peanut and the size of a dime to a quarter. These egg masses are next years crop of caterpillars. If you open them up there will be small 'beads' which are the eggs. Remember 1 female can lay up to 1000 eggs; here you can see their incredible reproductive power. The eggs have a survival rate of 50 - 75% into the next year. If you see these egg masses please remove them and soak in soapy water for a couple of days to kill them.

Tree damage. These pests are a serious threat to trees; a healthy deciduous tree that has been defoliated will usually regrow its leaves, but this requires tremendous resources from the root system and its stored nutrients. The tree will not produce fruit or acorns this year. When the caterpillars come calling next year and repeat the process, the tree may still survive and be able to regrow its leaves although this second consecutive defoliation will kill many weaker trees. If the cycle repeats into the third year even the strongest tree will die. Spruce / pine evergreens will not regrow their needles. If they are seriously defoliated just once they will die.

The gypsy moth has very few if any natural predictors. Some people say birds will eat the caterpillars, I have not ever seen a bird eat one and even if they did, there are way too many caterpillars (millions) for the birds to have much impact. I've tried feeding the caterpillars to spiders (nope they don't like) and even ants won't eat the dead caterpillars.

Due to a terrible outbreak last year in my area (Grand Bend Ontario) many local residents have contracted Zimmer Air Services to conduct ariel spraying of BTK. This has been done and we'll see how effective is is. In the meantime consider 'banding' your trees. This can help stop the caterpillars from climbing the trunk and getting to the leaves. And do it pretty soon; like today.

I've only scratched the surface with info about these pests. There is lots of information from reputable sources on line. Here's an example:

https://www.mda.state.mn.us/plants-inse ... th-history

Good Luck
Last edited by darcyh on Jun 2nd, 2021 2:52 am, edited 2 times in total.

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