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Gypsy moth season ends on up note

July 12, 2008|By BOB KESSLER

The gypsy moth season is winding down in our area. The good news is that the defoliation is not as bad as many of us feared.

Last year was serious and many thought this year would be a disaster. But there are two natural controls for the gypsy moth larvae: One is a virus and the other is a fungus. Both of these need to have periods of wet cool weather in the spring to become active and provide control. That didn't happen the last few years and the gypsy moth population exploded.

This year, you might remember we had a long rainy cool spell in late April through early May. This provided the proper conditions for both of the natural controls to work. According to Zack Roeder, service forester at Michaux State Forest in Fayetteville, Pa., there are some areas that did have defoliation. I am sure some people did see defoliation, but not to the extent that we had in 2007.

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The gypsy moth has started to pupae and soon the moths will emerge. The female moths do not fly, but they cling to the trunk of the tree and the males fly to them. If you destroy the females then you can reduce the egg laying on your trees. Once the female mates, she lays hundreds of eggs in an egg mass on the tree. You can scrape these off into a coffee can or some container and destroy them. You can do this from the time egg laying is done until next April when they start to hatch.

If you had an area that was damaged this year by gypsy moth contact the Franklin County Planning office at 717-264-8667 or planning@co.franklin.pa.us to get on the list to be sprayed next year.

Japanese beetles

Late June to early July is the time of year we expect to start seeing Japanese Beetles arriving.

While there are grubs in our lawn, the Japanese beetle also feeds as adult. Last year, our area was very dry during the time when egg laying occurred. As a result, it is expected that most of the eggs did not survive, which could mean a low population of Japanese beetles.

However, you could be in an area that had a timely rain or two and you will see Japanese beetles.

Start watching your landscape for signs that you have some on your plants. Roses and grapes are some of the first plants that they might feed on, but they are not fussy eaters, so most plants can be eaten.

But it is important to find the first beetles, pick them off immediately and drop them into soapy water. If you let them feed, pheromones are released to signal to others to join the buffet they found.

By doing a lot of checking over the next several weeks, you can determine if you have any in your area and if you do then getting rid of the first arrivals could reduce your feeding damage in your yard.

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