When considering possible pest infestations to your property, Moths aren’t usually perceived as pests, and in some countries, can be considered good omens. In Toronto, however, the European Gypsy Moth (Limara Dispar Dispar) is a long-established threat to foliage and vegetation in private and public properties alike. The city takes active measures to prevent outbreaks of a Gypsy Moth infestation via a combination of aerial pesticide sprays, injections, and protective canopies for the city’s trees. But, for 2021, Toronto officials decided not to employ these measures against the European Gypsy Moth, and instead focus on ground-based procedures to address infestations. This leaves the question, what can you do to remove a Gypsy Moth infestation in your own property? You can glean that information and more from GTA Pest Control.
GTA Pest Control is the premier pest control service in the Greater Toronto Area. We apply the necessary preventive measures to ensure that pests like the Gypsy Moth are removed without any health risks or damage to your property, and do not return in the future.
Gypsy Moths are a species of Moth of Eurasian origin, and were brought over first to North America in 1869. The moth species was initially introduced by early settlers as a silk-producing alternative to silkworms, however the notion obviously did not pan out. From there, the species slowly spread far and wide, eventually reaching Canada, where Gypsy Moth caterpillars are infamous for their ravenous feeding on leaves and foliage and are considered a highly destructive pest in Toronto, responsible for stripping entire trees of their leaves, and as a result, killing many of the trees they infest.
To deal with an infestation, you must first know your enemy. The Gypsy Moth is much like any other Moth. They begin as eggs, hatch into caterpillars, and evolve into moths. However, the beauty of nature left out the grisly details of the Gypsy Moth’s cycle of evolution, particularly for their egg and caterpillar stages.
Gypsy Moths lay egg masses, containing between 100-1000 eggs in the mass. The eggs of a Gypsy Moth are covered in furry barbs that can cause serious irritation or rashes when in contact with bare skin. These eggs are laid on a variety of surfaces: tree barks, outdoor furniture, and even cars! This stage lasts around 8 months, and the eggs pose a risk and danger to people exposed to them throughout those months.
After the eggs hatch, the caterpillars from the mass proceed to search for a tree canopy to climb up and feed on. Once in the trees, they tend to stay on the canopy, traveling between trees by method of “ballooning”, which is where they dangle from a long, thin strand of silk from the tree canopy and basically get blown onto another nearby tree. Each caterpillar is able to eat an average of up to a square meter of leaves, which means that an infestation of these caterpillars would result in the destruction of massive amounts of foliage and canopy if left unchecked. They continue to feed until they reach the cocoon stage, after which they evolve into a full grown Moth, and the infestation cycle repeats after they’ve mated with another Gypsy Moth.
Infestations of Gypsy Moths can be handled in more than a few ways:
Soapy water is the archnemesis of Gypsy Moths at their early stages of development. Eggs can be scraped off whatever surface they’re on and placed into soapy water to ensure their destruction. Also, caterpillars can be hand-picked from small shrubs, bushes and trees using gloves if individuals choose to do so. This hand-picking option is most effective from May to July, when the caterpillars tend to stay lower to the ground due to the heat of the season. Once caterpillars are collected, they should also be placed in soapy water to dispose of.
Bring in the Burlap:
Also effective during May-July is Burlap binding. This allows you to trap larvae on the lower portion of trees or closer to the ground in burlap cloths so it’s easier to dispose of them later using soapy water. The steps are as follows:
If you’d prefer to point and shoot a minor infestation away, you can purchase pesticide products containing Btk from any local garden store. Pesticides containing Btk are highly effective against the caterpillars of the Gypsy Moth, who will wither away after ingesting leaves sprayed with Btk. Keep in mind, this method is best for smaller infestations in isolated places, and should be performed with a mask to avoid allergic reactions or harmful effects of ingesting the pesticide. More serious cases involving larger trees or a larger area should be left to-
Infestations of any level can be brought to the attention of vetted professionals. Professional pest removal services are fully prepared and equipped to eliminate Gypsy Moth infestations without causing damage to either the property, inhabitants, or the plant-life. Professional pest removal also has the added benefit of a holistic pest control service, where measures are also put in place to prevent repeat infestations in the near future.
If you see an infestation of Gypsy Moths in your private property, don’t wait to lose the foliage around your land, contact GTA Toronto Pest Control to preserve the beauty of your property and keep any pesky Gypsy Moths off your land and trees with professional pest control techniques and equipment, handled by trained professionals who can ensure a fast process that delivers lasting results and faithfully observes COVID-19 health regulations for maximum safety.
For more information on our services check our About Us page, and should you want to schedule an appointment with us for industry-standard pest removal, visit our website today!