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Saturday, April 18, 2015


DEM says now is the time to nuke winter moths

PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management reports that winter moth eggs will start hatching once temperatures begin to warm this month. 

The hungry caterpillars will make their way and burrow into the softening buds of their preferred plants (oak, maple, ash, basswood, elm, beech, apple and pear trees, blueberry shrubs and roses) and begin to feed on forming leaves and flowers.

Caterpillars will continue to feed into late May/early June. Winter moth are prevalent throughout Rhode Island and in the past have caused significant tree and shrub defoliation, particularly in communities in Newport and Bristol counties and those bordering Narragansett Bay.

According to Paul Ricard, forest health program manager for DEM's Division of Forest Environment, from late November through December 2014 DEM received reports from communities across the state of the emergence of large numbers of winter moth adults (Operophtera brumata).

"It will be no coincidence that in the spring these same communities will see an astonishing number of caterpillars defoliating host plants," he said.

"Last spring DEM received hundreds of reports from concerned residents asking what could be done to save their precious trees and help control this invasive pest. Now is the time for residents to contact local licensed pesticide applicators for advice and estimates for treating plants they feel are important for them to protect."

Licensed pesticide applicators are often arborists, either self-employed or employed by local businesses offering tree care services. For a list of licensed arborists call DEM's Division of Forest Environment at (401) 222-2445.

For more information about winter moth go

For suggestions on how to treat for winter moth, and ongoing biologic control efforts