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Fall is good time to hunt gypsy moth eggs

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ANN MARIE AMES
October 24, 2011

You could turn a pleasant fall walk into an effective way to protect trees in Wisconsin.


This time of year is good for hunting gypsy moth eggs, according to a news release from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The caterpillars can defoliate large numbers of trees in a summer. Destroying eggs can greatly reduce the number of caterpillars, according to the news release.


Here’s what you need to know:


1. The best time to seek and destroy gypsy moth eggs is any 40-degree day between the first hard frost and the next April. Use your binoculars to search tree trunks and the undersides of branches. Egg masses can also be found on buildings, firewood, vehicles, the underside of picnic tables and patio furniture and on other outdoor objects.


2. Look carefully. The egg masses are between .5 and 1.5 inches long, said Colleen Robinson Klug, the DNR’s gypsy moth public information officer. That’s about the size of a stretched out nickel, she said.


3. You can spray the masses directly with horticultural oil labeled for gypsy moths.


“Spraying egg masses with this oil is one of the best tools available to homeowners for helping to protect yard trees from defoliation by gypsy moth caterpillars next summer,” according to the news release


You also can pull down the masses and soak them for two days in a bucket of soapy water before throwing them in the trash.


4. Counting egg masses can help predict the likelihood the pests will destroy tress next summer. For detailed instructions on conducting a gypsy moth survey on your property, visit fyi.uwex.edu. Clink on the environment tab.


5. The DNR does not expect to have to spray for gypsy moths in 2012. Large numbers of the pests died off in 2010 and 2011 from spraying and disease. Rock County was one of eight counties in the DNR’s gypsy moth suppression program this year. In Rock County, the moths’ established sites are in the city of Beloit and Beloit Township.


The Wisconsin Department of Trade, Agriculture and Consumer Protection sprays isolated populations to prevent them from moving west across the state.


For more information about the state’s gypsy moth control plan, call 1-800-642-6684 or visit gypsymoth.wi.gov.

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