CAnkerworms conquered

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​​​FALL CANKERWORM IN CHARLOTTE

The city will NOT band trees this fall



Help us monitor the cankerworm population


​Cankerworm FAQs

​The fall cankerworm (Alsophila pometraria) is an insect native to North America. It is typically found from Georgia to Nova Scotia and west to Texas. It has a four-stage life cycle: egg, pupa, larva (caterpillar) and adult.

​After mating in December, the female moths crawl up trees to lay their eggs on twigs and small branches. As the trees leaf out in the spring, the eggs hatch, leaving small green caterpillars to feed on the leaves. In most cases, the cankerworm will not kill the trees; however, repeated defoliation can weaken trees and make them more susceptible to other stresses, such as age, drought, other insects and disease.​ ​​​

​Tree banding in November and December was an effective way of controlling the cankerworm.  By applying a glue barrier to the tree trunk, the wingless cankerworm moths are trapped as they climb the tree. 

For best results, band between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. It is important to wait until most leaves have fallen from the trees so they don't get stuck to the tree bands. 


​The most common product used to trap cankerworms is Tanglefoot. ​The City of Charlotte’s Chief Arborist recommends the following products for combating fall cankerworm: Bug Barrier, Catchmaster, Stik-N-Stop and Tanglefoot. The stores and online retailers listed below should have one of the recommended products in stock and some have the additional supplies needed to band trees. 

ACE Hardware
20510 North Main Street, Cornelius
704-892-7651
Products: Tanglefoot and supplies

Blackhawk Hardware
225 Park Road Shopping Center
704-525-2682
Products:  Tanglefoot and Bug Barrier products

Faulk Brothers
6001 Orr Road
704-596-7474
Products: Tanglefoot in multiple sizes and quantities

Home Depot
Multiple locations
Products: Tanglefoot and supplies 

Little Hardware Company
1400 S. Mint Street
704-333-3133
Products: Tanglefoot and supplies, Bug Barrier products

Monroe Hardware
6912 Matthews-Mint Hill Road
704-526-2776
Products: Tree Kote in various sizes and supplies

Potts Hardware
5201 Nations Ford Road
704-523-7112
Products: Tanglefoot and supplies​

Renfrow Hardware
188 N. Trade Street
Matthews, NC 28105
704-847-4088
Products: Tanglefoot and supplies

Southern Organics & Supply
4813 East Fork Lane
Monroe, NC 28110
704-283-2457
Products: Bug Barrier products​

​Online retailers 

Amazon - Tanglefoot

Bug Barrier

Stik-N-Stop


For the past 30 years, the cankerworm population in Charlotte has continued to grow. Natural controls have not been adequate to bring the cankerworms to a level that isn't harmful to our tree canopy. Aerial spraying in 1992, 1998 and 2008, along with other natural factors, reduced the population for several years. The City started a banding program on street trees, while requesting homeowners and businesses to cooperate in 1990.  

The banding efforts continued for over 25 years. Entomologists cannot explain why the cankerworm populations were so high for so long, but the City's large concentration of old willow oaks may have promoted the infestation. ​


​Video: Why band your trees?

​0:04
[Music]
0:11
so what we're trying to do is we're
0:13
trying to capture her on the sticky
0:16
tanglefoot material because they can't
0:18
fly away from it they'll just walk up
0:19
this band and then she'll get stuck in
0:22
this little river of sticky material
0:23
what she wanted to do was to climb up
0:26
the tree go out to the very ends of the
0:28
branches to lay her eggs
0:30
[Music]

​Video: Tree-banding instructions

​0:00
to banditry four cankerworm there's
0:02
several supplies that you'll need one of
0:04
the most important things is you want to
0:06
have a pair of disposable gloves the
0:08
material that you're gonna put on the
0:09
sticky material is very sticky so you
0:12
want something you can take off and be
0:14
able to throw away the first part that
0:16
you're gonna need that you're gonna
0:17
place on the tree is either a roll of
0:20
cotton batting or pipe insulation that's
0:23
gonna go on the tree first you want to
0:25
make sure that you're getting any little
0:27
cracks or crevices because that female
0:30
moth could crawl behind this cut this
0:32
batting material so you do want it to be
0:35
nice and secure in there so she can't
0:37
get behind here after you have that
0:40
cotton batting up you want to get some
0:44
plastic wrap and you can buy this at any
0:48
kind of moving type store they usually
0:50
sell this roll and that's gonna wrap on
0:53
top of the cotton batting you'll want to
0:55
go around the tree a couple times to get
0:57
a nice good fit on there and it is very
1:01
sticky it'll stick to itself and you
1:05
want to walk around and just make sure
1:06
you don't have any areas that that
1:08
female can walk behind it the
1:12
consistency of the tanglefoot is kind of
1:14
like caramel very very sticky if it's a
1:17
really cold day when you're banding your
1:20
trees you might want to warm it up a
1:21
little bit either you can stick it in
1:23
the Sun or you can put it in the
1:24
microwave for just a couple seconds you
1:27
can either get a disposable cutting
1:28
knife or one that you can wash off when
1:30
you're done and then you'll just dip the
1:32
tanglefoot in and spread it across that
1:35
black plastic wrap that's on the side of
1:37
the tree you want it to be about a three
1:39
inch wide band on top of there and it
1:43
doesn't have to be really thick where
1:44
it's running but you do want it thick
1:45
enough to capture these insects
1:47
[Music]


 
The Fiery Searcher Beetle (Calosoma scrutator) likes to feast on cankerworms and could possibly help control infestations in the future. If you see this beetle around your home, consider it a friend and ally in the fight against cankerworms.

 

 
Banding trees is an effective way to trap the cankerworms.
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