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Crawling with caterpillars

Tent caterpillars seen on trees near the 300-block of 18th Street North.

COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

Tent caterpillars seen on trees near the 300-block of 18th Street North.

By now you’ve likely dodged one on the sidewalk or noticed them creeping up a tree.

Tent caterpillar

Enlarge Image

Tent caterpillar (COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN)

Tent caterpillars are latching onto city trees and other foliage, attacking the leaves.

"They are most concentrated here in the North Hill," said Brandon University biology professor Bill Paton. "They’ll feed on anything. They love roses and apples, but they also feed on the other major trees that we have. Sometimes if they’re really stuck, they’ll feed on ornamental flowers as well."

Numbers were so high, the City of Brandon sprayed areas with biological insecticide in the north end earlier this month.

Caterpillars were seen on ash trees in widespread areas of the north end; however, these insects can affect various other types of trees and cause significant defoliation and damage.

The tent caterpillars build silk tents in the branches of host trees. In the late summer, a brown-tan moth emerges.

Paton said while tent caterpillars are most prevalent in the city right now, army worms and elm caterpillars are also active.

"Right now because of the cooler temperatures and the rain, they’re not moving, they are staying in clusters," said Perry Roque, the city’s director of community services.

If you notice any city trees affected by caterpillars, Paton suggests calling the city. If residents notice their own trees, ornamental plants and flowers getting attacked, Paton says there is a simple solution — BT biological insecticide, which can be purchased at most garden centres.

If the worms have formed the tent, Paton says you should first burst it open with a strong jet of water before spraying.

» jaustin@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @jillianaustin

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 19, 2014

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By now you’ve likely dodged one on the sidewalk or noticed them creeping up a tree.

Tent caterpillars are latching onto city trees and other foliage, attacking the leaves.

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By now you’ve likely dodged one on the sidewalk or noticed them creeping up a tree.

Tent caterpillars are latching onto city trees and other foliage, attacking the leaves.

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