Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Creepy crawlies

I am about to declare this the international year of creep. I have been spending hours standing on a ladder pulling tent caterpillars off my apple tree, wisteria, house etc., not to mention the scores of them I have trampled underfoot, and the slugs I have been drowning and the cutworms I have been stomping, Maybe, lacking vegetables to protect, I just never noticed many of these critters before. However, this is the first year my poor and well-pollinated apple tree has been tented and I am struggling to save what I can.



Not reassured to read this message about these guys, who are northern tent caterpillars:
It is important to realize that, no matter what steps are taken to control tent caterpillars on individual trees, that the overall populations will increase over several years and then drop to low levels naturally as diseases and predators catch up with the population.
This winter I will look out for the larvae, though, to see if I can slow them down next year (though I read they can stick around for up to 6 years!), or at least divert them away from my favourite tree.
The egg masses look like 1-2 cm long masses of hard brown foam, usually wrapped around branches less than 1 cm in diameter.
Oh well. Here's a recipe for slug bait, in case you share my reluctance to feed them good beer (apparently they like fresh beer every day) (cheap grape juice is supposed to work too) :
1 cup water
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4-1/2 teaspoon yeast
(I have also heard you can add 2 tbsp flour as well)
One site suggested leaving twigs in your containers to allow beetles to climb out. My slugs loved this home brew very much. Too much. (I will spare you photos of where greed gets a gastropod...)

2 Comments:

Blogger hg said...

Gross, yes. But what they do is even grosser. Leaves on an apple tree ended up looking like lace paper doilies.
Still, at least you can see these and they don't come inside, hidden behind your ear. What am I talking about? Ticks. Still not quite sure I didn't bring any home from Saskachewan in my luggage...

5:31 PM  
Blogger Rhona McAdam said...

Owweuuuicchh. I'm glad I dodged those ticks sufficiently to avoid attachment last year, but I did have to get the stewardess to drown one in hot water on the plane home after I caught it crawling up my arm. I think if I ever go back there I'm going to borrow the dog's flea collar...

10:10 PM  

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