The Great Cankerworm Count. Help us conquer the canker.

THE GREAT CANKERWORM COUNT

Want the cankerworms to stay away?

So do we! We hope that increased monitoring will enable us to proactively band in areas that need it and keep the numbers low.

​​Become a Citizen Scientist!

We think you can help! Become a citizen scientist this winter and help us collect data on cankerworms. We will send your data to Clemson University to analyze​. With your help, we hope to understand the cankerworm population in Charlotte and possibly predict the next infestation.

Ready to get started? Follow these steps.

Pick one large tree in your yard. Wrap a string or tape measure around the trunk approximately 4 ½ feet from the ground. Enter the length (circumference) in inches on the form.

If you're really excited about counting, feel free to check once a week in February and record the numbers you are seeing. Remember to squish the moth after you count it so it doesn't get counted twice.

Super quickoOption! If you don’t have a lot of time, check once in February and submit the information to us.

Once you've finished tracking, enter your data online, or send it to us by mail, by fax or via email.

ONLINE at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CankerwormCount

BY MAIL
The Great Cankerworm Count
701 Tuckaseegee Road
Charlotte, NC 28208

BY FAX at 704-336-4444

VIA EMAIL at eoliverio@charlottenc.gov

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Additional resources


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Training resources

The information below provides instructions on how to band your trees and what to look for as you participate in The ​Great Cankerworm Count.

​​How to band your tree

Assistant City Arborist Laurie Reid demonstrates how easy it is to band your own tree.

​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]

​What do cankerworms look like? 

Use squares to estimate how many moths are on tree bands that are full of moths.

 

Trapped moths often lay their eggs on the tree band


 

​​Why band your trees?

Find out how cankerworms threaten tree health ​and why banding protects them.

​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]

​​How to track cankerworms

Learn how to measure your tree and estimate how many moths are on your band.

​0:00
[Music]
0:08
we go from thousands of them and
0:11
capturing the moths on bands you know
0:13
two thousand nine thousand on a single
0:15
band in the city it's maybe capturing
0:17
ten or twelve
0:18
[Music]
0:26
[Music]
0:43
try to make it tight if your tree has a
0:46
lot of furrows try to get it as tight as
0:48
you can
0:50
[Music]
1:08
there's a template that you can print
1:10
out we call these little counting
1:12
windows so there are three inches by
1:14
three inches square and what you'll want
1:16
to do is depending on the size of your
1:20
tree will tell you how many different
1:22
windows of areas that you need to count
1:24
so really just pick an air if you want
1:26
to do north-south east-west the first
1:28
time and then kind of go in the middle
1:29
that might be something that you can do
1:32
each time just change it up a little bit
1:34
and then you're going to squish the
1:37
cankerworm that's there because you
1:39
don't want to come back and count that
1:41
one again
1:42
[Music]
1:59
you

​​What do cankerworms look like? 

An adult cankerworm on a cre​pe myrtle

 

An adult cankerworm trapped in Tanglefoot on a tree band

 

START TRACKING USING OUR ONLINE FORM

IMPORTANT: You must use the SAME browser on the SAME device in order for the form to work properly. We recommend bookmarking this link if you choose this method: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Cankerworm​​ 

PRINTABLE FORM 

Just download, print and follow the instructions.

​1. MEASURE YOUR TREE

Measure the circumference of the tree trunk to determine how big around it is. Just wrap a string or measuring tape around the tree trunk at approximately 4 1/2 feet above the ground. Make sure it's straight and tight around the trunk. If you're using string, cut it where the string overlaps and then measure it. Enter the length in inches on the form provided.​​


2. BAND YOUR TREE

You can hire a professional to install the band(s), or you can do it yourself. 

List of local retailers that sell tree-banding supplies​

Instructional video on how to band your trees

Tree-banding instructional brochure​​


3. CHOOSE YOUR FORM

You have two options for entering your data:

​​​​Online form  - This form will save your data so that you can come back to it each week to enter more data. IMPORTANT: You must use the SAME browser on the SAME device in order for the form to work properly. We recommend bookmarking this link if you choose this m​ethod: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Cankerworm​​ 

​​​Printable form - Download this form​ and follow the instructio​ns.​


4. START TRACKING!​

- ​Start tracking only when you start seeing moths on your band. There are two ways you can track how many cankerworms are on your band.​

Method #1: Count all the moths on the band.
This method works well if you only have a few moths.

Method #2: Estimate using squares
If the band is covered with moths, it may be easier to estimate them by using 3-inch square holes cut out of a piece of paper.

How do I estimate using squares?
Print out this template and cut out the three-inch squares provided. Place the paper in random places on the band and count how many moths are inside the holes you just cut out. The number of squares you use depends on the circumference of your tree.

  • ​​​Less than 31 inches - Use three squares

  • 31 to 62 inches - Use four squares

  • More than 62 inches - Use six squares

Select different areas to count each week. To ensure you don't count the same moths twice, use a stick to mash or squish the moths.

​​​​