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tussock moth caterpillar preventionTussock moth caterpillars are small insects with a voracious appetite. They are not picky eaters, their taste buds like deciduous as well as evergreen, hard as well as soft wood species. Especially susceptible to their damage are Oaks, Willows, Birch, Ash and fruit trees in the Bay Area. Their spring feeding frenzy can defoliate your precious trees in days if left untreated. Though their damaging behavior is most prevalent for 2-3 months each year, the impact of their feeding can be long lasting and ultimately devastating. Continuing attacks from these pests can fatally weaken a tree and / or leave it vulnerable to other insects or disease.
Tussock caterpillars feed at night and hide during the day from birds and other insect predators that feed during the day. At the first sign of light, they drop off their host trees with their webbing or crawl down the trunks and seek refuge in shrubs, rocks, mulch or other surrounding objects. They rest during the day, hiding from local predators, and wait till nighttime returns. At that time, they will crawl back out to continue their damaging feeding.
Just one of the plant health care services Gachina provides, we can help you prevent the exponential growth of this insect by treating your trees with a preventative bark injection before signs of the caterpillar emerge. Once the caterpillars are present, a canopy application is required. Preventative bark injections are recommended – you do not want these poisonous caterpillars to emerge. You certainly don’t want to be walking or resting under a tree infected with these caterpillars when they are dropping to find their daily hiding place. If they land on you, these little fury friends can cause a nasty skin rash due to a toxin on their hairs, or stronger allergic reaction if they end up in your nose, eyes or mouth.
The Tussock moths lay its eggs in September. They remain dormant throughout the winter and hatch in late spring / early summer. If you encountered these caterpillars last year, do not hesitate, contact us immediately, those eggs are getting ready to hatch! A first treatment is required immediately with a second application possibly required in July. Contact Cristina Prevarin, Landscape Sustainability Manager at 650.924.3032 or for a free consultation today.
More information on Tussock moths can be found on and
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